<
>

Pregame notes: Injury bug keeps biting

CHARLOTTE -- A collection of news and notes before the Boston Celtics visit the Charlotte Bobcats Monday night at the Time Warner Cable Arena:

Another day, another injury for the Celtics.

Reserve center Semih Erden will sit out Monday's game with a right adductor strain, which means the Celtics are down a total of five players, including Marquis Daniels (bruised spinal cord), Jermaine O'Neal (left knee surgery), Shaquille O'Neal (sore right leg) and Delonte West (fractured right wrist).

Thin on bodies the Celtics recalled rookie Avery Bradley from the Maine Red Claws of the NBA Development League (Bradley trekked in to Charlotte from North Dakota via Minneapolis this morning). Celtics coach Doc Rivers said he prefers not to use Bradley on Monday night, but he may have no choice.

"Somebody’s got to play," Rivers shrugged. "Right now, we don’t have a backup [center] and we don’t have a backup [swingman]. Someone’s going to play the 5 at some point, someone’s going to play the 3 and we have to figure that out as the game goes on."

Having dealt with injury issues all season, Rivers isn't letting his team feel sorry for itself.

"It happens," Rivers said. "Like I told our guys, there's nothing you can do about it. You've got to go out and play. Tonight, there will be a couple of guys playing spots -- especially at the 3 -- someone’s going to play the 3 that’s never played it before. That’s just where we’re at right now.

"You've got to keep rolling, there's nothing you can do about it. I try not to live in the past, the what ifs. I guarantee you Charlotte could care less. The game is scheduled, it will be played. I tell our guys that all the time. We can’t worry about it, we've got to keep playing."

A couple other quick hits before Monday's game:

* Rivers said he and Daniels had been texting each other back and forth over the last 24 hours and, with Daniels being released from the hospital after bruising his spinal cord in a scary on-court scene Sunday against the Orlando Magic, Rivers said all the news is encouraging.

"He's feeling a lot better," Rivers said. "Yeah, he's fine. As far as playing, I don't know how fine he'll be. That's going to take a while."

Rivers said the Celtics will take some time to observe Daniels, then make a decision down the road about whether the team needs to make a roster move. He acknowledged that, being thin at the swingman spot behind Paul Pierce, the Celtics might be forced to bring in another 3 if Daniels is going to be out for an extended period.

But that's all secondary right now.

"As far as life, he’ll be OK," Rivers said. "And that’s all that matters to me right now."

* Rivers came out strong in support of Kevin Garnett as his star forward comes under fire for incidents that have some questioning whether he's crossed the line of acceptable on-court behavior.

"That means he’s on their mind, that’s fine by me," Rivers said. "Kevin does nothing wrong, plays the game the right way. I think all these people that call him out would take him on their team right now. Other than that, I could care less about that stuff."

* Within three of tying Reggie Miller's NBA record for career 3-pointers, Ray Allen admitted before Monday's game that to him it's all happened very quickly this season.

"It just seems like it happened so fast," Allen said. "When I got to the start of the season, it was somewhat painstaking because I had -- I don’t know what it was, 120, 130 3's away -- and I was like, 'I could do it this season, or I could do it next season.' And it just went by so fast. You look up and I’m at 90, then 50, then 30. You look up, it’s February and the season’s gone by pretty quick. But it’s just happened. I’m sitting here thinking I’m right at four now, it just happened. It’s like I blinked. It didn’t seem like anything, just play regular basketball, do your job and -- 'Voila!' -- you’re sitting here. That’s pretty much how my whole career has been."