Random Thoughts on an Off Day

Jermaine O'Neal - Boston Celtics v Cleveland CavaliersThere has been some good news recently on the injuries that have plagued the Celtics so far this season.  Jermaine O'Neal is back to practicing and is targeting a return before Christmas.  Shaq has been a warrior at the center spot, playing through pain and a return by Jermaine will allow the big guy to get a bit more rest and heal up himself.   Another bit of good news is the fact that Delonte said that even though he is just 6 days removed from the surgery on his wrist, he is ahead of schedule in his healing.  He is healing so quickly, he won't even need a hard cast on it.   The last time he broke that wrist, he was back in 6 weeks.  It's not out of line to think he may be back on a similar time table with this break.

After originally targeting January for a return,  Perk has said that he will probably play it safe and more than likely be back in February.  If JO and Shaq and Semih can hold the fort until February, I think it's wise for him not to try to rush back.  We need him at 100% for the playoffs and February will give him plenty of time to get back to top form.   And I've said it before but I expect Perk to come back better than ever.   He's been working hard on his free throws and his offensive moves.  Those were always the knocks on him.  We all know he is one of the top defensive centers in the league (second only to Howard) and when he comes back, I can see him with a much stronger game on offense.

Speaking of Perk, I'm always coming across threads on other boards where fans want to go after Perk in the off season.  I posted before one that I found on a Raptors' board where they felt that he should be the top priority for their club to pursue.   Now I found one on a Knicks board  where they feel the Knicks should go hard after Perk and offer him $10 million per year.  With the price of centers these days, $10 million would still be a bargain for him.  As with everything sports related, there are some posters for and some against.  But one statement makes a lot of sense and that is that the Celtics should make signing Perk a priority since center is a tough position to fill.  I can't think of any other centers that will be available that will be better than Perk.

Big Baby is making a strong case as Sixth Man of the Year.   Red invented the role of Sixth Man and the Celtics perfected it.  It would be very fitting for it to be back with the Celtics this season.  While his minutes and role may decrease somewhat when Perk comes back,  he is still going to play a very valuable role going into the playoffs.

Another Celtic proving to be valuable is Nate Robinson.  He has filled in admirably for Rondo while he rests his sore hamstring and feet.   The plantar fasciitis may be an ongoing thing that needs rest from time to time and Nate has proved that he is ready to do whatever he is called on to do.  And Avery Bradley proved in the last game that he can contribute.  I loved his defense.  Tenacious is a word that comes to mind.    I say that we should rest Rondo now and let Nate and Avery get the playing time and if we lose a game or two now, it's not the end of the world.  These two have proved that if the rest of the team shows up, they can still win without Rondo.    Having Rondo come into the stretch going into the playoffs with sore feet or a torn hamstring would be a very bad thing.  Get Rondo healthy and then bring him back.   He might not like sitting, but it would be for the best of the team.  

Wednesday's game marks the return of another former Celtic to the Garden.  Shelden Williams has won the starting PF job in Denver and I couldn't be happier for him.  He was always a class act in Boston.  Never complained but was always ready to do whatever he was asked to do.  He always reached out to the fans and was very accessible.  I'm glad to see him doing well in Denver.  But, I still hope his team loses this one.   

I saw a headline this morning that made me laugh.   It was "What's Wrong with Ron Artest?"   I mean,  there could be books written on that topic, not just one article.   I doubt that they will find an easy answer for that one.  Solving the Riemann Hypothesis might be an easier task.

And I'll close with a Happy Birthday wish to Larry Legend.  Larry Bird was born 54 years ago today and he has given the presents to Celtics fans with 3 titles.   I love watching footage of Larry play.  It's poetry in motion.  I agree with Magic.  There will never, ever be another Larry Bird.  I'll leave you with a video of Larry's 47 point game against Portland that he played entirely left handed just for fun.