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Perkins injures shoulder

Kendrick Perkins is listed as day to day after injuring his shoulder in practice yesterday.
Kendrick Perkins is listed as day to day after injuring his shoulder in practice yesterday. (AP Photo)

WALTHAM -- What could be worse than a six-game losing streak and an 18-31 record that puts a team closer to a lottery pick than a playoff spot?

Losing another young and promising player to injury on an already shorthanded team.

The latest Celtics' casualty is center Kendrick Perkins, who suffered a dislocated left shoulder during practice yesterday at The Sports Authority Training Center. He is listed as day to day, though it's likely he will not return until after the All-Star break (Feb. 19).

Perkins, who had a game-high 10 rebounds at Orlando last Saturday and 13 more Monday at Miami, was taken for X-rays after colliding with a teammate late in the practice session.

Executive director of basketball operations Danny Ainge hopes to have an update on Perkins's status today after the team medical staff reviews results from an MRI. Perkins was examined by team physician Brian McKeon yesterday at New England Baptist Hospital.

The Celtics recalled 6-foot-11-inch Dwayne Jones from the Florida Flame and expect him at practice in Waltham today. Jones is the second-leading rebounder in the development league. Other roster moves depend on how much time Perkins and Al Jefferson will miss.

Jefferson severely sprained his right ankle last Friday night against the Clippers. Coach Doc Rivers yesterday said he hadn't asked the medical staff when Jefferson might return.

''I just assumed the timetable wasn't good," said Rivers. ''I didn't need to ask."

Celtics captain Paul Pierce tried to take the news in stride.

''That's what happens during a season. You've got to anticipate injuries," said Pierce. ''Very rarely do you have a team where everybody stays healthy. When one guy goes down, other guys have to be ready to step up."

Asked how he planned to tweak his lineup for tomorrow's game against Portland at the Garden, Rivers said, ''We've got 11 guys right now so you can't play that many different guys. I think Ryan Gomes, to give you an example, will find his way onto the floor and I might even shorten our rotation. A couple of guys are struggling."

Jones, acquired in the Jan. 26 trade with Minnesota, was averaging 8.9 points per game and 11.7 rebounds in 30.4 minutes for the Celtics' development league affiliate. In his last two games for the Flame, both against the Arkansas Rimrockers, he grabbed 16 and 20 rebounds.

''We think he's making progress in the NBDL, but we have a need for him right now," said Ainge. ''I don't know how many minutes he will play, but it will be a good opportunity for him to show the coaching staff what he can do, at least in practice."

When Jones visited with the Celtics before they played the Heat Monday night, he hoped to be called up soon. The Celtics will decide tomorrow afternoon whether to activate Jones for the Portland game.

''I'm going to be a rebounder, whatever the Celtics need," said Jones Monday in Miami, where he also had a chance to reunite with former Saint Joseph's College roommate and teammate Delonte West. ''I'm definitely going to whatever I can do to help the Celtics win."

Rivers said he understands the reasons his team is fading. ''Our road record [4-20] is killing us more than anything else. I'm fully aware of where we're at. I'm fully aware of what we're going through. I'm confident they're going to get it, hopefully this season."

Throughout the recent slide and the lineup changes necessitated by the seven-player swap with Minnesota, Rivers said Pierce has been an upbeat leader.

''He was in the locker room after the Miami game saying, 'Keep fighting guys, keep fighting guys,' and saying this year was still going to work. I don't think he gets enough credit for that," said Rivers. ''Even today in practice, the second unit was really struggling and Paul said something even before I said something."

Rivers said newcomer Wally Szczerbiak is still getting comfortable with the team.

''I think he presses in spots but I think he's actually trying to fit in too much," said Rivers. ''He's trying to be a good teammate, which is a good quality. It's something that's refreshing. But we have to get him to be more aggressive offensively. That will come. He has to get comfortable with everybody and I'm willing to wait for that."

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