Shaquille O'Neal's Achilles injury isn't healing as quickly as the Celtics had hoped and now there is some doubt as to whether he can play in all, or any, of the team's four-game West Coast trip following the All-Star break. "Honestly, it’s just not healing right now," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said Monday after the team's practice. "We’re hoping after the break at some point. When he first injured it, we all thought it would be a one or two game thing and now it’s been longer.

The Celtics got some good news on the injury front on Monday as the MRI results on Paul Pierce's injured left foot didn't reveal anything serious and Pierce is expected to play Wednesday against the Nets in their final game before the All-Star break. Pierce didn't practice Monday and he isn't scheduled to practice Tuesday as a precaution, Celtics coach Doc Rivers said.

 

Rajon Rondo does so many unusually freakish things on the basketball court that the part that escapes most casual observers is his intelligence.



PAUL FLANNERY

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The 2010-11 Miami Heat have a record of 39-15, third-best in the NBA. They are on pace to win 60 games, no small feat (only been done once in the franchise's 23-year history, and while this isn't the Lakers in terms of lore this isn't the Clippers we're talking about either). 



KIRK MINIHANE

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Celtics coach Doc Rivers had high praise for Rajon Rondo after the team's 85-82 win over Miami. "He’s the smartest player I’ve ever coached, maybe ever been around," Rivers said. "I’ve been around some pretty smart players, but he’s right there. To be that young and have that, that’s only going to get better. He sees things I don’t see and never would have been able to see."



 

After missing all 10 shots from the field on Sunday, an ailing Paul Pierce said he will have an MRI on his aching left foot on Monday to determine the extent of the injury. Pierce also aggravated his sprained right hand, which he first injured Saturday in practice.

 

"I sprained my hand yesterday in practice, it got hit today and then just have to get my foot checked out tomorrow, going to get an MRI on it and go from there."

 

Asked when he injured it, Pierce said, "it happened about a week ago, actually."

Rajon Rondo had a triple-double with 11 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists and Kevin Garnett added 19 points as the Celtics won for the third time in as many tries against LeBron James and the Heat, 85-82, Sunday afternoon at TD Garden. The Celtics, who scored just 11 points in the fourth quarter, reclaimed first in the Eastern Conference by a half-game over the Heat, improving to 39-14 while the Heat fell to 39-15.

Speaking before the Celtics game with the Heat Sunday, Doc Rivers said that Marquis Daniels may have tests next week to determine the extent of the spinal injury he suffered last week against the Magic. But the coach cautioned that it would take some time. "I wouldn't count on Marquis coming back any time soon," Rivers said.

 

Neither Shaquille O'Neal nor Semih Erden are expected to be back in the Celtics lineup until after the All-Star break, Doc Rivers said Saturday. O'Neal has missed the last five games with what the team is calling an inflamed Achilles, while Erden has played only two games totalling 11 minutes in the last six games with an assortment of injuries.

 

Practice has been over for an hour, but there was Rajon Rondo working on his jump shot. From angles and distances all over the court, Rondo took shot after shot, being fed a steady supply of passes from assistant coach Armond Hill.



PAUL FLANNERY

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