|The Celtics’ Kevin Garnett turned up the heat against Boris Diaw in the first half, but the ball bounced the Bobcats’ way in the fourth quarter. (Barry Chin/Globe Staff)|
West is still hobbled by ankle sprain
The ankle Delonte West sprained during a February walkthrough is still nagging him a month later, limiting him to the point that he would consider a cortisone shot.
“If it’s still bothering me — I don’t think I’m going to get surgery — but if it’s still bothering me in the playoffs I may have to get a shot,’’ West said after missing 5 of 6 shots in the Celtics’ 83-81 loss last night to the Bobcats at TD Garden.
After an intense practice Thursday, the ankle started swelling and continued to swell after yesterday’s shootaround. He spent the rest of the day getting treatment, skipping his pregame shooting routine.
He played 18 minutes, but was hampered the entire night. He recalled wanting to make a move on a one-on-one fast break in the first half, “but my body said, ‘Nah, don’t do it to yourself.’ ’’
Coach Doc Rivers finally pulled him with 7:15 left in the fourth quarter.
“That was a tough one for me,’’ Rivers said. “He wasn’t playing well, but he was playing with the right spirit. I just didn’t want to take the chance.’’
Playing in his sixth game since sitting out with the sprain and just his 14th game all season, West was off target.
“I was hobbling all game, trying not to think about it, trying to keep pushing through it,” he said.
West missed 10 games at the start of the season, serving a league suspension. He played just five games before breaking his wrist in November against the Nets, costing him another 39 games. He returned after the All-Star break but played just three games before spraining the ankle in a walkthrough on a Celtics offday.
“This ankle kind of came out nowhere,’’ West said.
The league suspension stemmed from a 2009 gun incident in Maryland. West plead guilty last July to weapons charges, and was sentenced to eight months of home detention and two months of probation.
His stint on house arrest is up tomorrow, and he said he will fly to Washington DC tomorrow to meet with his probation officer.
“It’s been nine months,’’ he said. “I’ve got something to smile about.’’
Time sharing an issue When Sasha Pavlovic checked in for Paul Pierce Wednesday night with six seconds remaining in the third quarter, it was the first time he had seen the floor in three games.
He had played in eight of the 10 games since the Celtics signed him March 4, but in the two games he sat, Rivers was experimenting with lineups in preparation for the playoffs.
Pavlovic, like all the new additions, had the burden of picking up a new system on the fly, and they’re all trying to show they’re worthy of postseason minutes.
“I think we all know that as the playoffs approach and as we get into the playoffs, that [the rotation] shrinks a little bit,’’ said assistant coach Kevin Eastman. “It’s kind of healthy, I think, that guys are competing. Once they get in there, whether it’s two minutes or 16 minutes, you’ve got to compete because you want one of those playoff spots.’’
Rivers used what he called a playoff rotation last Saturday against New Orleans, using just Glen Davis, Jeff Green, and West off the bench. They scored a combined 39 points and sparked a third-quarter run that led to a win.
Carlos Arroyo, Avery Bradley, Troy Murphy, and Pavlovic all watched. The potential minutes already seem to have been divvied up. West, hopefully, will spell Rajon Rondo, Green will back up Ray Allen and Paul Pierce, and Davis can play power forward or center.
Everything else will be spot duty, but over the final 11 games, the remaining reserves will have to earn enough trust to be put on the floor.
These boots Von Wafer (strained calf) recently stopped wearing his walking boot, but Shaquille O’Neal and Murphy have started.
“I think if you have a wart [on your foot] you put a boot on these days,’’ Rivers said. “Really, I’m going to get one.’’
Murphy sat out last night’s game against the Bobcats after spraining his right ankle in Thursday’s practice.
O’Neal received a cortisone shot and started wearing a boot for the inflamed right Achilles’ that’s cost him the last 23 games.
“I don’t know if it’s precautionary because he’s already injured,’’ Rivers said. “I just think they’re trying to speed it up really more than getting worse.’’
The Celtics play at Minnesota tomorrow, and Rivers didn’t expect O’Neal to make the trip.
Jermaine O’Neal, however, will join the team after sitting out since Jan. 12 after arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. The Celtics will spend three days in San Antonio next week, and the opportunity exists for practice time.
“That’s why he’s coming,’’ Rivers said. “Because he thinks he’s ready to practice. His job is the same thing as when he left. He knew his defensive role.’’
Dealing with trade Bobcats coach Paul Silas said the Celtics look as if they’re still feeling the effects of trading Kendrick Perkins at the deadline.
The Celtics had lost five of their last nine prior to last night. “Normally they would just run those teams out of here,’’ said Silas.
“They happen all the time, unexpected trades,’’ he added. “But to take it as hard as they did is not out of the realm of possibility because they’re losing one of their starters, losing a guy that they depend on to rebound and defend, and somebody has to step up to take his place. When that happens, it’s not an easy thing.’’
The Bobcats put themselves in a similar situation at the deadline, dealing Gerald Wallace to the Trail Blazers for Joel Przybilla, Sean Marks, Dante Cunningham, and two first-round picks.
They entered last night 3-10 since the trade. With the win, Charlotte is now two games behind Indiana for the last playoff spot in the East, with the Pacers owning the tiebreaker.
“We were going in the right direction and then a change was made,’’ Silas said. “When that happens you just have to move on.’’
Julian Benbow can be reached at email@example.com.