Pregame: Wilcox (thumb) close to return

BOSTON -- Boston Celtics forward/center Chris Wilcox will be active for Monday's visit from the Charlotte Bobcats, but is unlikely to see the floor. After getting through his first full-contact practice since suffering a thumb injury last month, Wilcox could be back in action later this week.

"I don’t think he’s going to play tonight, he’s just going to wear his uniform," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "[He'll be back in game action] pretty soon. Maybe even by next game he’ll be in uniform, where he could play. But we are in no rush with that, we’re just going to make sure he feels good. He practiced [Sunday] and he wants to have a couple more practices, which is important."

Rivers admitted that having a healthy Wilcox, who suffered a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in Chicago last month, would add another layer of depth to the front line.

"If someone is in foul trouble -- Brandon [Bass] gets in early foul trouble or Jared [Sullinger] or Jason [Collins] -- you still have Chris. That’s nice to have, as opposed to trying to scramble the way we’ve been doing it, when one of those guys gets in foul trouble it hurts us."

A few more quick hits from pregame:

* RIVERS ROOTING FOR PATRIOTS: Rivers bolted from practice on Sunday to take in Patriots-Texans from a luxury box at Gillette Stadium. Rivers, a familiar presence in Foxborough when the schedule allows, said he's superstitious for teams he roots for. "Wore the same outfit -- you do the whole fan thing," Rivers said.

Is he superstitious like that with the Celtics' current five-game winning streak?

"No, not with us. I’m just that way with other teams," he said. "It’s funny with us, I just show up and say, ‘Please guys, make shots. And stop them from making shots.' But when I watch other teams that I like, you tend to do the same thing. You turn the beer label the same way, those things."

Rivers lamented being unable to attend the AFC Championship Game on Sunday when the Patriots host the Ravens. The Celtics are in Detroit that night. "I can’t get thrown out in time," Rivers joked.

* NO LOOKING PAST THE 'CATS: Rivers has stressed that his team take the Bobcats seriously despite their struggles. Asked if he reminds his team about Charlotte's 7-5 start, Rivers noted, "No, I remind us what we were. I think it’s easier to talk about what we were doing five games ago than what someone else was doing. We’ve proven when we play well, we can beat anyone. But when we don’t, we can’t. For us, our formula is pretty simple, we just have to play the defense we play."

* SEAT FOR SOLDIERS NIGHT: The Celtics were hosting members of the United States armed services and their families for Monday's sixth annual "Seats for Soldiers" night. Fans were given the opportunity to donate their seats for each branch of the armed services. Before Monday's game, Wilcox conducted a live teleconference with the USO in Kandahar for New England soldiers stationed overseas (and the Celtics were going to feed Monday's game to the soldiers there as well).