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CELTICS NOTEBOOK

Lacerte makes the call

Team is not well enough to practice

Kendrick Perkins swoops in to block Rocket Yao Ming's shot in the first quarter. Kendrick Perkins swoops in to block Rocket Yao Ming's shot in the first quarter. (JIM DAVIS/GLOBE STAFF)

You know things are bleak when the trainer has to call off practice. Yet that is what happened after the Celtics' 111-80 loss to the Rockets last night. Two more players were injured in the game. A third was sore. And trainer Ed Lacerte told coach Doc Rivers not only to call off practice today, but to keep all players out of the gym.

"That's the first time he's ever done that since I've been here," Rivers said of Lacerte's suggestion. And with only eight available bodies, it wasn't a tough call to make. Rivers concurred.

Delonte West suffered a mild concussion when he got elbowed over the right eye midway through the third quarter. He headed to the locker room and did not return. Afterward, he was taken to New England Baptist Hospital, where he was to get a CT scan and spend the night under observation.

Ryan Gomes missed the second half with a sore right foot. "The injury is more in the middle of the foot, so that part of it is a little scary," Rivers said. Gomes had scored 9 points in the first half.

And Al Jefferson, after pummeling Houston with an 18-point, 11-rebound first half, rested most of the fourth quarter because of an arch strain in his right foot. Jefferson said only that the foot was "sore," adding, "I guarantee it's nothing that will keep me out. It's sore, that's all."

Asked about the injury bug, Paul Pierce, who missed 24 games with a left foot injury, said, "It's something we just haven't been able to escape all season."

The Celtics weren't alone in their misfortune. Yao Ming, in his second game after missing 32 with a broken bone under his right knee, dislocated the middle finger on his right hand in the fourth quarter. X-rays were negative.

Szczerbiak surgery
Wally Szczerbiak is scheduled to undergo left ankle surgery today at New England Baptist. Szczerbiak was shut down for the season after reinjuring the ankle Feb. 20 in an eight-minute stint at Sacramento . . . The Celtics had a moment of silence before the game for Alan Greenberg, the Hartford Courant sportswriter who died of an apparent heart attack Tuesday. One of Greenberg's favorite assignments was covering the Celtics when he worked at the Los Angeles Times and the Celtics-Lakers rivalry was at its peak in the Magic Johnson-Larry Bird era . . . The Rockets' 15 3-pointers matched their season high from a Feb. 21 game against Miami. Additionally, Tracy McGrady was twice fouled attempting 3-pointers and made five of the six free throws . . . Gerald Green, a Houston native, was 1 for 14 from the field in 26 minutes after going 0 for 6 in Houston Feb. 26. "He won't have a lot of bragging rights when he goes back home," Rivers said . . . Rivers on the Rockets: "Before Yao went down, I thought they were as good as anyone in basketball. They're built for the playoffs. They can slow the game down. They've got two go-to guys. They're pretty good." . . . The Rockets' Vassilis Spanoulis was the only available body who did not get into the game. Given the depth of the blowout, he must be a long-term tenant of coach Jeff Van Gundy's doghouse . . . Allan Ray had 25 points in his second game for the Austin Toros last Saturday in the NBA's Development League. The Toros' next game is tomorrow night against Tulsa. Peter May can be reached at P_May@globe.com. .content>

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