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01/10/2012 - 4:02pm
Pierce 'surprised' West didn't return

WALTHAM -- Speaking with reporters after practice on Tuesday, Celtics captain Paul Pierce said he was surprised that guard Delonte West didn't return. West signed with the Mavericks just before the start of the season and has started eight of their nine games.

"It was a big surprise because I thought he would be one of the main guys to come back," Pierce said. "I thought he did well in the time he played and in the playoffs. It was a bit of a surprise but I’m happy that he’s found some [comfort] in Dallas. He’s in the starting lineup right now and I wish him the best."

West played in only 24 games for the Celtics last season due to a 10-game suspension to begin the season and a broken wrist suffered early in his comeback. But when he did play, he added toughness and versatility. The Celtics added nine new players in the offseason, including six veteran free agents but West was not among them.

"I...

01/10/2012 - 3:58pm
Source: Sox not closing on Kuroda deal

According to a major league source, a report from ESPN's Jim Bowden suggesting that the Red Sox are "closing in on a short-term deal" with free-agent right-hander Hiroki Kuroda is inaccurate, with another source suggesting that such a claim was "baseless."

That assessment came in response to the following from Bowden:

The Boston Red Sox appear to be closing in on a short-term deal with right-hander Hiroki Kuroda to add him to a rotation that already has Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, Clay Buchholz and Daniel Bard. This move, along with the trades for relievers Mark Melancon and Andrew Bailey, quickly puts the Red Sox back among the AL’s elite. Kuroda is extremely underrated for the valuable innings he can provide from the back of a rotation.

However, the sources suggested that such a portrayal of Sox talks with Kuroda was inaccurate.

The Red Sox, who thus far this offseason have agreed to minor league...

01/10/2012 - 3:34pm
Daniels doubtful, Pietrus ready to play

WALTHAM -- The Celtics will likely debut Mickael Pietrus on Wednesday against Dallas after the recently-acquired swingman took part in his second practice on Tuesday.

"He looked great," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "He had a sensational day, one of our best players today. Unless I hear differently, I do [expect him to play.]"

There is an immediate need for Pietrus because Marquis Daniels has missed the last two days with the flu and Rivers isn't expecting him to be ready for the Mavericks game. Pietrus was going to play regardless, but it's likely he'll take Daniels' minutes behind Paul Pierce at small forward on Wednesday and could see some time at the other wing position, as well.

Pietrus was acquired just before the start of the season after he was waived by Phoenix. He's a career 36 percent 3-point shooter, but is coming off minor knee surgery.

For more Celtics news, visit the team page at...

01/10/2012 - 3:27pm
Wilfork: Tebow 'a special guy'

FOXBORO - Vince Wilfork met with the assembled media at Gillette Stadium on Tuesday and was asked about the challenges of defending Tim Tebow. The Denver quarterback completed just 11-of-22 passes for 194 yards in the 41-23 loss to the Patriots on December 18, but did manage to rush for 93 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

"He's just a tough, tough guy to prepare for," Wilfork said. "You can speak all day about how tough he is, how elusive he is, but it really doesn't matter until you face him. … He's a big dude, a strong guy. He's probably one of the biggest, one of the toughest, one of the strongest guys that I've faced. … He's a special guy."

For more Patriots news visit weei.com/patriots.


01/10/2012 - 2:40pm
Vollmer, Mankins back, McDaniels at practice

FOXBORO -- New coaching assistant Josh McDaniels attended his first practice on Tuesday and Sebastian Vollmer and Logan Mankins returned from injury as the Patriots held their first padded practice in over a month on the lower grass fields outside Gillette Stadium. 

Vollmer missed the final five games of the season with an injured right foot while Mankins suffered a left knee injury in the Christmas Eve win over the Dolphins at Gillette. Both were back in pads on Tuesday as the team began on-the-field prep work for Tim Tebow and the Broncos in the AFC Divisional Playoff this Saturday night at Gillette. 

The team practiced in pads for the first time since Dec. 7 while Bill O'Brien and McDaniels were both on the field with head coach Bill Belichick. It was the first practice since O'Brien accepted the job as Penn State head coach in 2012 and the first since McDaniels was hired away from St. Louis last week, joining the Patriots staff...

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