Celtics notebook

Perkins return fast approaching

Paul Pierce scrambles for a loose ball between Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan and Linas Kleiza. Paul Pierce scrambles for a loose ball between Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan and Linas Kleiza. (Barry Chin/Globe Staff)
By Julian Benbow
Globe Staff / January 8, 2011

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He didn’t plan on being able to play for another three weeks, but before last night’s game against the Raptors, Kendrick Perkins was in a rush to get out of the locker room and get some shots up.

“I’m already late,’’ he said.

That said, his recovery process from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee is ahead of schedule. After undergoing surgery in July and rehabbing vigorously, Perkins said he will be able to practice in a week and expects to return to the lineup by the end of the month.

He hasn’t had to deal with any setbacks or swelling, and after sitting out the first three months of the season, he’s eager to put his rehab in warp speed.

“It feels like these three weeks are not going by fast enough, but I guess the six months or whatever went by pretty fast,’’ said Perkins. “Just trying to wait it out, see how it goes.’’

In three-on-three workouts, Perkins has gone full tilt, finishing with dunks.

“I just try to squeeze in every little opportunity I can,’’ he said. “Whether it’s shootaround, whether it’s walkthrough, I try to get in, get as much as I can.’’

Practices are few and far between for the Celtics, but coach Doc Rivers said if necessary, the team would make time for one to get Perkins reacclimated.

“Perk has such a great understanding of what we do, it won’t take him long to get back in there,’’ Rivers said.

Perkins’s presence would be welcome, and with the return of Kevin Garnett would give the Celtics the frontcourt they envisioned.

“Right now, it gives us energy when anyone comes back on the floor,’’ Rivers said. “But it’ll help [Perkins], it’ll help our team. It’ll allow me to manage minutes better with [Shaquille O’Neal and Jermaine O’Neal]. So, it’ll do a lot of things.’’

Pressed about whether he expected to start once he returned, Perkins said, “Yeah.’’

“It may take a few games just for me to get my rhythm back, but I think all of it is mental,’’ he added. “I believe as much work you put in is what you get out of it, so I try to go hard every day, try to basically bust my butt every day.’’

West progressing For now, Delonte West’s basketball-related activities essentially amount to one-handed floaters.

Even though he had the cast on his broken right wrist removed earlier this week, doctors have told him not to touch a basketball with that hand for at least another week.

“I can’t pick up weights or anything heavy,’’ he said. “Just movements and anything natural.’’

Five games after returning to the lineup following a 10-game suspension to start the season, West broke his wrist, requiring surgery Nov. 30. The pain has gone away, he said, but movement is still restricted.

“I’m in the right mind-frame,’’ West said. “I’m conditioning as much as I can with the left hand with the basketball. But I can’t force the stiffness out of it or the movement.’’

West works out four times a day, soaking the wrist, going through different movements and stretches, and working out the scar tissue.

“That’s all I can do is do the treatments that they gave me,’’ he said. “My conditioning is there. My body is there. It’s just you can’t force it. You can try as much as you want to work out the stiffness, but it’s only time. It’s just a waiting game for me. Each day it’s loosening up more and more. But I’m still a few weeks away.’’

Garnett close Rivers said Garnett could return as early as Monday. “I think he’ll be back early next week,’’ Rivers said. “Monday or Wednesday. He could play then, too.’’ Garnett, who strained his right calf Dec. 29 in Detroit, worked out Wednesday morning in Waltham . . . Semih Erden played six minutes last night in his first game action since Dec. 22. Since Garnett has been out, Rivers said he’s been giving Luke Harangody the time Erden would normally see. “We just have gone in another direction,’’ Rivers said. “One reason is because with Kevin being out we need a [power forward]. Another reason is, Luke in practice — the ones we’ve had — I know I like his energy more. Luke provides more energy, and right now with Kevin out anybody that can provide energy for us on the floor, we’ll take.’’ . . . Including two preseason games, the Celtics have seen the Raptors six times since October. “We’ve played them enough, huh?’’ said Rivers. “By the end of the year, your folder’s huge. It’s just never this big by January. But that’s because you’ve played them six times already.’’

Amalie Benjamin of the Globe staff contributed to this report; Julian Benbow can be reached at

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