CHICAGO - Rookie Brandon Wallace has left Utah to return to the Celtics, but not in the fashion he hoped for.
Wallace will return to Boston from his assignment with the NBA Development League's Utah Flash today to have his injured right wrist evaluated. The 6-foot-9-inch, 206-pound forward suffered a carpal injury when he was undercut while taking a shot against Anaheim last Wednesday. Wallace is expected to get a medical evaluation tomorrow by team physician Brian McKeon. It's uncertain how long Wallace will be out.
"That's not why we sent them down there to the D-League, I'll tell you that," joked coach Doc Rivers. "But, heck, injuries happen. I called him. There is nothing you can do with injuries. He probably felt a little worse that he wasn't around us when it happened. We'll bring him back, get him treatment, and see if we can get him healthy again."
Director of basketball operations Danny Ainge went to Utah this weekend in hopes of evaluating Wallace and rookie guard Gabe Pruitt during two games against the Los Angeles D-Fenders in Orem, Utah. Ainge must decide by Dec. 20 whether to guarantee Wallace's contract for the rest of the season. While Wallace missed this weekend's games, the Celtics have video of all six games he has played with Utah. The undrafted rookie is averaging 12.5 points, 9.2 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 2.1 steals, and 1.1 blocks for the Flash.
USA Basketball hosted one of the biennial FIBA Central Board Meetings here this weekend, which is being attended by NBA commissioner David Stern, FIBA president Bob Elphinston, and officials hoping to bring the 2016 Olympics to Chicago. Stern and several international basketball officials attended the Celtics' 92-81 victory over the Bulls last night at the United Center.
Stern addressed the board yesterday and NCAA officials will speak today. FIBA will also announce today the site of the last Olympic men's qualifying tournament, either Greece or Puerto Rico. It also will announce the site of next year's women's Olympic qualifier. The US men's team qualified for the 2008 Beijing Olympics by winning the gold medal this past summer at the FIBA Americas Championship.
"The importance of the meeting from a USA Basketball perspective points to the fact that it's a great opportunity to host colleagues in the basketball community," USA Basketball president Jim Tooley said, "and to show FIBA we are committed to all the national federations for the development of our sport."
No Celtics are expected to play in the Olympics. USA Basketball is tentatively scheduled to conduct a minicamp in Las Vegas from June 27-30, 2008, to determine the 12-man team, and it's uncertain how many players will be invited.
After going through Olympic processing in the Bay Area, Team USA will head to Macao, China, where it is tentatively scheduled to train until the start of the Olympics Aug. 7.
With an offday today after last night's victory, Rivers stayed overnight here so he could spend some time with his mother, family, and friends. Rivers's father, Grady, died in Chicago Nov. 4.
"We are going to have Sunday off," said Rivers, whose team doesn't play again until Wednesday against visiting Sacramento. "It's a good break in the schedule. I get to stay overnight with my mom at her house and spend some more time with her. She's doing better. A lot of family. She's got a lot of support.
"I've been good. People that lost their dad understand that not even a day goes by where I don't think about it or have a sad moment. It may not get easier, but that's fine. You think about it because you've never gone through it."
Rivers is among several Celtics who have strong ties to Chicago. Guard Tony Allen grew up here and needed 15 tickets for the game, forward Kevin Garnett left South Carolina to play his senior year in high school at Farragut Career Academy in Chicago, and assistant coach Clifford Ray played for the Bulls.
Rivers has asked his players to stay focused when playing in their hometowns and don't view it as a "social gathering."
"My mom and my family have been so great," said Rivers. "They know when I come out, I don't call anyone. I already talked to them two days ago. They got their allotment of tickets. Use them.
"I don't want to know. I don't want to ask. Then after the game, we'll go see each other."