WALTHAM, Mass. -- With Boston's postseason fate sealed, most Celtics players -- particularly the veterans -- are willing to accept some late-season rest in order to be in as best of health as possible when the playoffs open this weekend in New York.
But despite Jeff Green's own bumps and bruises -- this weekend's back-to-back in Miami and Orlando saw him endure a nasty charley horse and a hard landing on his (not-so) funny bone that left his left arm numb -- the Celtics forward said it would mean a lot for him to play Boston's entire 82-game schedule.
Considering how his entire 2011-12 season was wiped out by heart surgery, it's not hard to understand the significance.
"Yes, I’m playing all 82 games," said Green. "That’s my goal."
Later he added, "For me, it’s big -- missing a year, coming off of heart surgery. For me it’s big to come back, play a full year, play every game in the playoffs and to contribute the way I’ve been in the second half of the season. I just want to continue to make progress and finish the season strong."
Green is one of only two Celtics players to appear in all 80 games thus far (Brandon Bass the other). Celtics coach Doc Rivers had hinted previously that he'd like to get Green some late-season rest, but the player might fight it.
"If he mentions it to me about rest, I’m going to shake my head and tell him, 'No,'" said Green. "I don’t know how much power I have or how much say-so I have in that department. But now, my mindset is to finish these last two games off and then go into the playoffs on a good note."
Rivers said that he was going to check the language in Green's contract, joking that there must be an incentive clause for playing the full season. "Maybe we can make a deal," quipped Rivers.
Turning more serious, Rivers suggested he'd be OK with letting Green play, but "I just won't let him play a lot."
Green was the center of attention on Monday with his impending matchup with Carmelo Anthony, and said he savors the opportunity to try to slow one of the league's elite scorers.
"It’s good competition, man," said Green. "[Both players] being from the Maryland area, him being who he is and me trying to become on his level, it’s great competition. I love it. That’s why I love basketball: The competition. The fact that you get to go against superstars like that. That’s how you make a name for yourself. I’ll be prepared."