Despite sitting out Monday's game with a sore hamstring, Celtics center Jermaine O'Neal maintained afterward that his hamstring is not injured and not a long-term issue. He attempted to convince coach Doc Rivers that he was ready to play but trainer Ed Lacerte intervened and pulled the plug on O'Neal playing.
"No, not it's not an injury," O'Neal said. "I got here with the intentions on playing. Ed Lacerte went through the regular routine of our pregame [stretching]. It's still sore. It's been sore the last three days. He just thought that just based off our schedule, he'd prefer for me not to play.
"I came to the arena with the thought process that I was playing. He had a conversation with Doc and sometimes players get trumped with whatever decision they have. It's not a hamstring pull or anything like that. And the fact of the matter [is] I'll be ready to go come Wednesday."
The Celtics won't practice on Tuesday following the back-to-back with the Wizards. They host New Jersey at the Garden on Wednesday, when O'Neal said he'll be ready to go. Greg Stiemsma took O'Neal's spot in the starting lineup and scored 13 points and hauled in seven rebounds in 21 minutes.
"Fantastic, fantastic," O'Neal said of Stiemsma's play in his absence. "That's how it's going to be this year. For whatever reason we have certain guys out, guys have to step in and fill their role and do their job. You don't get that much time in between to try and catch up so you're going to need guys to pick up their play when other guys are out. He's been fantastic. He's been doing that since the first day of training camp so we're not surprised."
For more, visit the Celtics team page at weei.com/celtics .