Ratliff Says He’s Done for the Year

WALTHAM - Celtics center Theo Ratliff stood in the doorway between the trainers' room and the practice court at the Sports Authority Training Center at HealthPoint on Thursday afternoon and told reporters that he's finally decided to have what will likely amount to season-ending surgery to fix the herniated disc in his back.

Ratliff, who appeared in just two regular season games this year for the Celtics from November 8-10, hasn't set a date yet for the procedure, but he expects to have it done in the next two weeks. He indicated that it would be six weeks to recover from the surgery before he could resume physical activity, and another six weeks to get back into playing shape, which would make mid-April the earliest conceivable return date.

"That'll put you at 12 weeks. You do the math," said Ratliff, who told reporters that he has no prior history with back problems until this season. "It's just something that has to be done. I have the same symptoms going down my legs and I can't really do any type of exercise."

Ratliff came into camp saying he was in the best shape he'd been in for some time, but he isn't really sure when he first hurt his back. It was only a slight injury during training camp, but after returning to the lineup in early November, he said he could tell there was some more severe damage that might eventually require surgery. He sought out several opinions and treatments on his back, but has apparently finally relented and given in to going under the knife.

"When I took the second MRI it showed that it had gotten a little worse," Ratliff said. "I want to get it over with. It will be good to have some relief."

Ratliff says he expects to be ready to go for next season.

"[I'll] put the pieces back together and go back at it again," Ratliff said. "That's what I've been doing my whole career."

Jefferson Takes a Rest, Perkins Catching Breath

Al Jefferson sat out Thursday's practice with a sore right hamstring, but Doc Rivers jokingly suggested that there might have been other motivation.

"A hamstring, his birthday," said Rivers of Jefferson, who turned 22 on Thrusday. "It is his hamstring, and that is a concern. He's been complaining a lot about it lately."

Meanwhile, backup center Kendrick Perkins is struggling with his conditioning as he tries to return to form. Perkins missed 10 games with plantar fasciitis and is being eased back into the lineup; he hasn't played more than 15 minutes in a game since returning to action December 27 in Los Angeles against the Clippers.

"Even today we went very short, and he was looking for air in the gym. That's going to take a little time," Rivers said.

As for his foot, Rivers said Perkins isn't complaining of any lingering pain, but the center still isn't moving as well as he'd like.

"He's not moving very well, and he will, it's just going to take some time."

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