<
>

Saturday's practice report

WALTHAM -- A collection of news and notes following the Celtics practice session Saturday at the Sports Authority Training Center at HealthPoint:

The day after: Garnett looks fine

Celtics forward Kevin Garnett showed no linger effects from logging a little more than 30 minutes in his return to action in Friday's 98-95 overtime win over the Portland Trail Blazers.

Garnett, who missed 10 games while nursing a hyperextended right knee, participated fully in Saturday's open practice and, as the video above shows, looked just fine as the team went through 5-on-5 drills during about an hour session.

"It's good to have Kevin back, but more importantly, it's good to see him feeling better after a game where we went into OT," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "Someone asked me about the minutes [Friday], but this is something totally different than last year [when Garnett needed knee surgery and had his season ended early]. We're really not concerned about the minutes, our concern, minute-wise, was his conditioning."

The Celtics, as they typically do, rotated a sixth player with the green-clad starting unit during 5-on-5 work, allowing Garnett, Kendrick Perkins, and Rasheed Wallace to all get rest along the way.

Injury update: Scal's AC joint; Marquis' thumb

Celtics forward Brian Scalabrine, sidelined Friday with what's now being termed an acromioclavicular joint sprain, did not take part in Saturday's practice and reaffirmed that he will likely sit out until the middle of next week, missing Monday's game against the Los Angeles Clippers. Scalabrine is targeting a Wednesday return to practice and hopes to be available when the team plays a back-to-back in Orlando and Atlanta at the end of next week.

"AC sprains -- they go out and go back in," said Rivers. "I had one and, to this day, I'll be golfing and it will come out. And you just cant do anything for a couple days or a week. Sometimes it stays out and it can get worse, but usually it goes right back in. That's what we have to deal with. It's painful, I can tell you that. Scal's been playing with it for a couple games, and it's very painful to play with, you lose the urge to play quickly."

Daniels, who had a hard cast removed Thursday, participated briefly in defensive drills, but watched most of practice from the sideline and will not be rushed back as he regains range of motion in the surgically-repaired left thumb.

"He can grab silly putty, that's all he can do," joked Rivers, when asked what Daniels can do with the injured hand. "We don't want him anywhere near a ball, because a bad pass could hit his hand. If he played, someone is definitely going to hit his hand. We're trying to take it slow. He's going through physical therapy and there's a lot of atrophy in his hand, so he has to build the muscles back up."

Asked about Scalabrine's injury cropping up just as Garnett returned, Rivers shrugged and said, "That's the way it's been, just par for the course."

Pierce optimistic as C's health improves

Celtics captain Paul Pierce expressed optimism that the team will be able to shift into another gear as it returns to health. Pierce admitted it was hard to judge the first 41 games of the season because of those injuries, but thinks there's plenty of potential for success over the next 41.

"We haven't reached our peak yet," said Pierce. "We're going to be a whole lot better than we have been. It's tough for me to put a grade on it, we've been up and down, but we'll see how the last few games go here before the All-Star break.

"It'll be nice to get everybody back into it. We've played pretty much the whole season without a healthy [roster]. We'll get everybody back and get rolling. It's a long NBA season."

Loose Balls

Celtics guard Tony Allen spent time talking with the media about developing a role for himself on this year's team. Allen capped Friday's overtime win with a fastbreak dunk that all but secured the victory in the final moments. Shortly after describing how that play unfolded, Allen was asked if he felt 100 percent healthy this season. "Not yet," he answered. "I wanted to tomahawk, I wanted to windmill [that dunk], but I didn't have the legs." ... Saturday's open session -- the team practiced in front of invited guests for the second straight Saturday -- is the final open session of the 2009-10 season. ... In a "you had to see it, to believe it" moment during the session, Shelden Williams drove hard down the lane and delivered a vicious one-handed jam over Garnett. As Williams struggles to get off the bench lately, it was one of those rare glimpses that shows he's still got the ability to play.