HARTFORD -- With a veteran squad, the Celtics knew injuries would be an issue this season and, 10 days away from the start of the regular season, the Green have seemingly avoided any major boo-boos. But little injuries have forced coach Doc Rivers to operate shorthanded on almost a nightly basis.
One night after drawing a spot start (and playing exceptionally well) in place of Paul Pierce, Marquis Daniels will not play against the New York Knicks due to a sore right shoulder suffered in Friday's win over Toronto. Daniels tweaked the shoulder reaching in and colliding with a Raptors player, forcing him to the sideline one night after what Rivers called his best game of the preseason.
"[Friday], he was phenomenal, " said Rivers. "Up until then, I thought he was up and down. But if he can play with that energy and that hard and that intense as he played [Friday], he'll be huge for our basketball team. He can do it. He did it [against Toronto]. That was nice. It was great for him, No. 1., and great for all of us."
For his part, Daniels, sporting an ice pack in the locker room before Saturday's game, joked, "I threw a no-hitter last night."
One stall over, Nate Robinson sported a similar ice pack, but will play against his former team.
INJURY ROUNDUP: JO LIKELY TO SIT WITH HAND INJURY
Rivers indicated that center Jermaine O'Neal will dress, but is likely to only be used in emergency situations after falling on his hand. Like Daniels' shoulder, Rivers doesn't seem concerned about the bruise, but will again exercise extreme caution as the regular season nears.
"[O'Neal will] dress out and if we need him, we'll play him," said Rivers. "Other than that, he probably won't go."
Rivers didn't have an update on guard Delonte West, who returned to Boston earlier this week to get treatment and further testing on his ailing back.
"I didn't ask [about West]," admitted Rivers. "We'll know more in a couple days. We knew he wasn't gong to play, so it's not a big deal."
Saturday's game was the fifth exhibition contest this week for a road-weary Celtics squad coming off a three-game road trip in Philadelphia, New York, and Toronto. Rivers sounded ready to ease into a practice-heavy schedule leading up the regular season.
The Celtics close out their exhibition slate Wednesday night at the TD Garden against New Jersey.
"We have some work to do still, and they know that," said Rivers. "But we get more work done in practice than in games. The guys understand that as well. We'll have that, a lot of practice time coming up, a lot of practice days. We'll get some rest [Sunday], it'll be good."
SHAQ KEEPS IT LIGHT IN LOCKER ROOM
Celtics center Shaquille O'Neal spent time working with strength and conditioning coach Bryan Doo in the locker room before the game. During a break from some balancing exercises, he scooped up Doo and proceed to toss him up and down for a few curl-like moves.
"That's part of his weight-lifting program," joked Rivers. "B-Doo only weighs [120 pounds]. We need Shaq to get some light lifting, that's what that is. The next step is Nate [Robinson]. And we'll know Shaq is completely healthy when he throws [Glen Davis] up in the air."