Pregame: Stiemsma safe; Bass back

BOSTON -- Celtics rookie center Greg Stiemsma admitted nerves kicked up a bit when he learned that the deadline for contracts to go guaranteed essentially was Tuesday evening (it actually occurs Friday, but due to the waiver process, players needed to be released before tip-off on Tuesday).

Stiemsma, the only Celtics player whose contract was not fully guaranteed for the season, didn't get an official call (heck, coach Doc Rivers admitted even he didn't know that Tuesday was the key date), but the fact that his jersey was still hanging in his locker stall before Tuesday's game against the Charlotte Bobcats bode well for him.

"It feels real good. It's a satisfying feeling," Stiemsma said. "Any little stuff like that can give you a little boost during the season. I don’t get caught up in that business side too much. But I do enjoy the positives when they come, so it feels good."

Rivers, who raved about the chemistry of this year's team, said Stiemsma not only contributes to that positive vibe, but has the skill to be an impact player.

"He can play," Rivers said. "That’s the main thing. If he couldn’t play but was a great guy, we’d probably send him on his way. But he can actually play and he’s a big guy that can play. And we’re just hoping we can keep developing him to make him a better player."

A couple of other quick hits from pregame:

* Top reserve Brandon Bass is back in the lineup after sitting out Sunday's game with a sore right knee. He noted he began feeling discomfort in Friday's win over the Knicks and underwent some tests to ease his mind. "I had some discomfort in the knee, so we checked it out just to make sure everything was all right. And now I’m back," Bass said. With a hectic game schedule in this compressed season, Bass said he's aware that he has to take care of his body to withstand the grind.

* Rivers didn't have an exact timeline for the potential return of reserve guard Keyon Dooling (right hip pointer, sore right knee) but was hopeful that it would come in the near future. "I don’t know if he’s close, but [team trainer] Eddie [Lacerte] thought in a week or so," Rivers said. "He thought he had a chance. Bottom line, [Lacerte] thought he had a chance before the All-Star break to make it back, so that was good news."