Pregame notes: Rivers sits one out

BOSTON -- A collection of news and notes before the Boston Celtics host the New Jersey Nets in their preseason finale Wednesday night at TD Garden:


BOSTON -- At the behest of his doctors, Celtics coach Doc Rivers, who underwent a throat biopsy Sunday, will not coach Wednesday's game, deferring to first-year assistant coach Lawrence Frank as Boston wraps up its preseason slate against the New Jersey Nets.

The lesions found near Rivers’ throat were benign.

"I'm going to sit in the back,” said Rivers, who ran the team's pregame shootaround and planned to address the team before its final tune-up. "I'm going to sit back here and watch baseball.

“I can talk now, but they didn't want me to scream or anything, like most coaches do. If I'm not going to coach, I don’t want to be out there; I'd rather Lawrence do it. I don’t want to be a distraction."

A family history of throat issues raised some alarm in the Rivers household.

"I was more nervous waiting for the results," said Rivers. "You just want the results to come back. [Doctors] told me before I went in that there was very little chance anything was there, but you have to do it to be sure.

"My family was [nervous]. We have some history with my father-in-law, his throat -- he died of throat cancer. So anything in that area, it alarms everybody. So the family was always concerned with stuff like that. I was just talking to [Nets coach] Avery [Johnson], all of us just have to make sure we take care of ourselves."


* Rivers noted that he'd stick with his plan from Tuesday night and send his starters -- the Big Four (yes, Rivers updated the Big Three to include Rajon Rondo) and Shaquille O'Neal -- out for extended minutes. He said he'd evaluate with Frank at halftime how much the veterans would play from there.

* Rivers admitted there's a good deal of concern about what Jermaine O'Neal will be able to offer by Tuesday's season-opening blockbuster against his former team, the Miami Heat.

O'Neal has been limited for much of the preseason with a variety of injuries (hamstring, hand, back).

"We have to get him on the floor, obviously. That's not going to happen tonight, and not maybe for the first couple of practices [after the game]," said Rivers. "So there is some concern about opening night, what he can do for us."

* Rivers said rookie Tiny Gallon, brought on earlier this week, will not play against the Nets. Gallon did get assigned jersey No. 63 and joked he felt like an offensive lineman with those digits. He's got the build (6-foot-9, 300 pounds) for the role. More on Gallon later this evening, but you can check out a video of him warming up below.