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Green feels at home

Ready to deliver goods this season

By Gary Washburn
Globe Staff / December 14, 2011
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WALTHAM - Jeff Green hit the floor at Sports Authority Training Center yesterday as if in comfortable surroundings, oblivious to the medical concern sparked by his unusual physical that caused him to miss the first four days of training camp.

Green was in uniform for Celtics’ media day and participated in some practice drills while waiting to be cleared for full contact. Team president of operations Danny Ainge divulged Monday the issue with Green’s physical that required additional tests before he could be allowed to practice.

The fifth-year small forward was more specific about the issue. He said he struggled with a stress test and team doctors wanted to examine the source. Green attributed the poor test to fatigue, a flight to Boston delayed four hours, and the lateness of the physical.

“It was a late day Thursday trying to get everything squared away,’’ he said. “I didn’t sleep. I got here and had to do the physical. My mind was fatigued because I didn’t sleep at all.’’

Green said the issue wasn’t heart-related.

The Celtics dangled Green with Rajon Rondo in trade talks for New Orleans Hornets guard Chris Paul. They also showed confidence in his ability by signing him to a one-year, $8 million contract - $2.1 million higher than the qualifying offer presented before the NBA lockout.

With the Paul rumors seemingly dissipated, Green is back in Boston to prove that his struggles last season were a byproduct of learning an entirely new system at midseason. Green was wildly inconsistent in his 26-game regular-season stint, but promises to return to his Oklahoma City form, claiming that last season was an aberration.

“My plan over the summer was to come back here and try to get everything down pat so I can be on point when I come back,’’ he said. “I’m just trying to help my team, being more aggressive [after] coming here in a tough situation last year. I wasn’t comfortable in my spot. It was tough to transition coming from Oklahoma and doing what I was doing.

“Now after having a conversation with Doc [Rivers] and knowing my role a little bit better, I’m ready to get started.’’

Green averaged 9.8 points in those 26 games and shot 48 percent but he played tentatively and appeared overwhelmed at times under the pressure of meaningful games.

“Trying to grasp everything right away was hard,’’ he said. “Now I’m in a situation where I could relax a little bit. I’m on point with everything. We’re all together. We’re looking good, so I think now I can move forward.’’

Retaining Green means the Celtics own his Larry Bird rights, and they can sign him to a long-term extension after this season.

Glad to be here

The most congenial newcomer has been backup guard Keyon Dooling, who has expressed joy in coming to Boston and joining an organization with a winning tradition. Dooling has played for the Clippers, Heat, Magic, and Bucks in his career. During his time with the Magic, Dooling was involved in an infamous altercation with new teammate Ray Allen, who was playing for the Seattle SuperSonics at the time.

During a January 2006 game, the two had been shoving when Allen pushed Dooling coming off a screen and Dooling responded with a forearm shiver that knocked Allen down. Allen responded by grabbing Dooling by the waist and the two tumbled into the first row at KeyArena.

Dooling was asked whether he had been able to make amends with Allen after that scrape. The league suspended Dooling for five games and Allen for three.

“The Sonics? Is that even a team anymore?’’ Dooling joked. “That’s ancient history. When Ray and I saw each other the next time after the fight, we had a conversation and we embraced each other. It was the heat of the battle. I have a lot more respect for him and he has a lot more respect for me. Sometimes you know a man better when you fight. He’s been nothing but a phenomenal influence since I’ve been here.”’’

Asked who won the fight, Dooling said, “The NBA won, they got all the fine money.’’

Moore gets busy

E’Twaun Moore said he felt comfortable after his first NBA practice that had Rivers raving about his offense and court leadership. Moore said his stint with Benetton Treviso in the Italian League was helpful in his playing both guard positions . . . Moore will wear jersey No. 55, Chris Wilcox 44, Dooling 51, Brandon Bass 30, JaJuan Johnson 12, and Marquis Daniels 4 . . . The Celtics have been impressed with the work of former Wisconsin center Greg Stiemsma, who was signed from Sioux Falls of the NBADL. He has a chance to make the team as a reserve . . . The Celtics remain in the running for free-agent forward Reggie Evans but they only have the veteran minimum to offer. Evans is seeking a multiyear deal . . . The Celtics will hold a scrimmage at TD Garden Friday for season-ticket holders in preparation for Sunday’s preseason opener against the Toronto Raptors.

Gary Washburn can be reached at

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