Doc Rivers gave Chris Forsberg & the rest of the media the bad news at today’s practice in Waltham:
Wilcox hurt the thumb in Tuesday’s game vs the Bulls. It’s being called an “ulnar collateral sprain” of his right thumb. Doc says he’s been told Wilcox should be out somewhere from 3 to 4 weeks. Obviously this is not good for a team that is already struggling with rebounding & interior defense. So now the question is, will Jared Sullinger’s minutes increase significantly? Will the C’s go out and try to get a big man? And this also makes Fab Melo’s huge game in the D-League last night that much more significant. Forsberg writes:
With Wilcox injured and the departure of Darko Milicic earlier this season, the Celtics are thin yet again at the center position and have been forced to lean on undersized big men like Brandon Bass and rookie Jared Sullinger. Rivers was asked if the team needed to make a move for a big man.
“You would think, but obviously that’s the one position where they don’t grow on trees. They actually grow,” quipped Rivers. “We just have to be patient. Obviously, we need another big with Chris being out. I don’t know if we’re going to get another big on this trip.”
The Celtics could attempt to muddle through until Jan. 7 when free agents are eligible to be inked to 10-day contracts. That would afford Boston a chance to add a player to Milicic’s vacated spot without forcing a move that clogs a roster spot for the remainder of the season, leaving the team able to stil be active at the trade and waiver deadlines when the players available might be glitzier.
And what about rookie Fab Melo, who set a D-League record with 14 blocks as part of a triple-double effort on Saturday in Maine?
“I haven’t talked to anyone that thinks he’s ready to come up yet,” said Rivers. “There might be your answer.”
Forsberg also got some news on Jeff Green’s injury from Friday night. Green was hit square in the mouth by an Ersan Ilyasova elbow. Green told the media that “it’s just another bruise..it’s cool; added to my character.” Pretty interesting quotes from a guy who some have labeled as too soft:
Who knows. Maybe this will give Green some character:
Asked how Green looked in practice, Rivers quipped: “He looked good. Looked like Jeff Green with a black eye and chipped teeth. He actually looked better.”
Doc also talked about Avery Bradley’s rehab and the possibility of him playing on the team’s upcoming road trip. And boy could they use him. After facing Brooklyn on Christmas, the C’s travel out west to face the LA Clippers, who are one of the best teams in the NBA right now, a much-improved Warriors squad that play in Oracle Arena aka the Celtics’ House of Horrors and a Kings team that won at home vs Boson last season. So is Avery going to make an earlier than expected return to action?
Avery Bradley is nearing a return after enduring double shoulder surgery and Rivers didn’t rule out the possibility of him debuting on this road trip, but said he didn’t want to pressure the training staff. Bradley had been eyeing a return on Jan. 2 when the team returns home, but had planned to travel on the road trip.
“I think there’s a chance [he’ll play on the trip], but I don’t know what the chances are,” said Rivers. “I haven’t talked to anybody. The fact that he went through, again, today’s practice great … I don’t know, I just try to stay out of that. Because he’s close and I don’t want anyone feeling like I’m pressuring them — Avery or, more importantly, the doctors. Because Avery wants to play. I guarantee he wants to play the next game. But that’s something that I try to stay away from.”
Rivers was asked if Bradley appeared game ready from what he’d seen in practice.
“He could play, there’s no doubt,” said Rivers. “He’s ready to play. I don’t know about the healing part of it. Does it take those extra two weeks? He had two surgeries, and I think that’s what we forget. The first surgery was on one day, the second one was a lot later. And that’s the shoulder that still needs to heal. Now, if you can go through a practice, the way we’ve gone, especially today, can he play in a game? He might be able to. But maybe it’s still too early. I don’t know the answer.”
Interestingly enough, about 15 minutes after I posted this story, the Boston Herald’s Mark Murphy tweeted this:
Doc says that Avery Bradley may play first game during upcoming trip. Final clearance from medical staff all that’s needed.
— Mark Murphy (@Murf56) December 23, 2012