Notebook: Jefferson Goes Down, Green Comes Up
Doc Rivers said he'd finally decided to shorten his rotation to feature more Al Jefferson. Fate had other plans.
Jefferson went down in a heap with 8:27 to play in the second quarter under the Clippers' basket, then crawled like an inchworm on the baseline as he writhed in pain on the floor.
"Oh man...from the agony when he was lying on the floor, I hope it's not too bad," said Delonte West after the game.
"Severe ankle sprain" was the word around the locker room after the game. The injury will keep Jefferson out indefinitely, and the earliest projected return would come some time after All-Star weekend.
"I don't want to use the 'severe' word but it's a pretty tough ankle sprain," said Rivers, who added that Jefferson's ankle wasn't broken, but it was a tough break for the team, especially considering that part of the motivation for the blockbuster trade was to hand the car keys over to Jefferson and Kendrick Perkins.
In the meantime, Jefferson will stay behind to treat the injury as the Celtics head for Orlando and Miami.
Paul Pierce was disappointed about Jefferson's injury but tried to see some positive in a pretty negative situation, saying that injuries were part of the NBA season.
"We have to deal with it and guys have to be ready to step up like Olowokandi came in and did a great job of filling his shoes," said Pierce. "That's what we are going to need more of."
Green Gets a Taste of NBA Action
Rivers said last Friday night that Wally Szczerbiak wasn't going to play in his first night as a Celtic, but that he didn't have a choice when Wally kept staring him down on the bench, so he put him in at the end of the first half and started him in the second half of the C's win over the Kings. This week, Rivers insisted before the Clippers game that call-up Gerald Green wasn't likely to see any action either.
But with the game decided and 1:25 remaining, Green checked in and did all he could not to smile and maintain some semblance of a game face. That said, his debut wasn't anything worth writing home about: 0-2, a foul and a turnover in 85 seconds. Not exactly impressive, but given the situation, it's not really a body of work that anyone will judge the rookie on.
A reporter asked Green if he even remembered anything about his brief debut.
"I remember going in there and screwing it all up," said Green. "I wasn't just nervous, I just need to be more ready in different types of scenarios."
Much to his surprise, Green ended up with the ball in his hands quickly, and certainly appeared tentative. The crowd encouraging him to shoot probably didn't help calm him either.
"I was ready to play but I didn't think I was really going to actually touch the ball, or feel the ball," said Green.
While his D-League team is on a brief break until next Friday, Green will stay with the Celtics to get some more practice time under his belt and maybe even a little more game action as well.
Michael Olowokandi got his first extended look since the trade, and responded nicely by giving the Celtics a presence in the low post. He contributed 10 points and four rebounds in just over 15 minutes...Kendrick Perkins had another strong outing with 11 points and 11 rebounds...Rivers said before the Phoenix game that now that he's had time to see Szczerbiak play in games and in practice, he's a better passer than he'd previously thought. Szczerbiak had a rough game on Wednesday, but his passing was certainly on display Friday; he had one of the more quiet near-triple doubles of the season, finishing with 18 points, 10 assists and 8 rebounds. The 10 assists tied a career high for Szczerbiak...Since January 23, West has really struggled shooting the three. He's connected on just 6 of his 21 attempts (28.6%).