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Celtics notebook

Davis strains left knee; may return next week

By Frank Dell’Apa
Globe Staff / March 4, 2011

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WALTHAM — Glen Davis (strained patella tendon in his left knee) will miss tonight’s game against Golden State but could return next week. Davis limped off the court near the end of the Celtics’ 115-103 win over Phoenix Wednesday and did not practice yesterday.

An MRI yesterday indicated no damage beyond tendinitis, which he said has affected him since Game 7 of last year’s Finals.

“There’s no swelling, just a sore tendon,’’ Davis said. “I’ve been playing with it all year, it’s just getting worse.’’

Davis felt pain as he jumped for a dunk with 41 seconds remaining. He took several steps, then fell to the floor before being helped to the locker room. Only Davis, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce have played all 59 games this season.

“I kind of wanted to play the whole season,’’ Davis said. “I tried the best I can. We’ve just got to get healthy for the playoffs. It’s a sigh of relief, but you don’t want to be hurt, you don’t want to sit out. But it could be worse. I’m just glad I’m here and getting ready to play.’’

“I always look at it, the No. 1 quality to a great player in the NBA is availability,’’ said coach Doc Rivers. “You look at the great ones, they’re always available. So, Baby’s done a great job of that. They have higher pain thresholds, block it out and play. Baby’s been able to do that and that’s a big step for him.’’

On the defense The Celtics have long been impressed with Sasha Pavlovic’s defensive ability, according to Rivers.

“One of the things we always liked about him, he’s a competitive defender, he doesn’t back down from many guys,’’ Rivers said of Pavlovic, who joined the Celtics yesterday. “So I think he can fit in well with us. He’s a skilled player, as well, so I think he can fit in anywhere.’’

Pavlovic was also lauded for his performances against the Celtics while he was with the Cavaliers.

“He had two games against us where they went ‘iso’ offensively and basically he kicked our butt,’’ Rivers said. “I reminded Paul and Ray of that quite a lot. What I always liked about him is he’ll play a minute or five minutes and, defensively, you can see they trust him guarding anybody, and I liked that.’’

Pavlovic expressed mutual admiration for the Celtics.

“I was happy like never in my life when Boston called,’’ he said. “They like me being here and whatever they ask me to do I’m going to try and do it and try to help win games.

“They just want me to basically play my game and all I’m going to do — whatever the coach asks me to do, I’m going to try to do it, try to help defensively, offensively, whatever I can do.

“I think I can do pretty good defensively, I can run the fast break and shoot open threes. I’m just going to keep it simple, there’s a lot of great players on this team, so whatever my role is going to be I’m going to be happy to do it.’’

Pavlovic, who will wear No. 77, had been with Dallas on a 10-day contract.

Allen ailing Allen missed practice with leg soreness, said Rivers. “It’s his day,’’ Rivers said. “I told him go to the [driving] range, hit some balls. Whenever anybody complains about anything — Ray said his legs were sore — so that was to me, all right, it’s your day.’’ . . . Shaquille O’Neal participated in “skeleton’’ drills, but his return has not been determined.

Frank Dell’Apa can be reached at f_dellapa@globe.com.

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