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Robinson has knee surgery

More damaging news for departed

VON WAFER Ailing right calf VON WAFER
Ailing right calf
By Julian Benbow
Globe Staff / March 5, 2011

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Barely a week after the Celtics traded Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson to the Thunder, both players are on the inactive list with injuries.

Robinson played just one game for Oklahoma City before undergoing arthroscopic surgery yesterday on his right knee. He’ll be out 4-6 weeks. The news came only a few days after the Thunder said Perkins would need 2-3 weeks to recover from the MCL sprain he suffered Feb. 22 at Golden State while with the Celtics.

The Celtics traded away five players at the deadline. Only one of them was healthy, and injury issues were a concern.

“We knew about it,’’ Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. “The Nate injury, I knew he was having knee pains, but other than that I didn’t know much about it. Perk we knew, obviously. He got hurt in the game against [the Warriors], so we knew he’d be out for a little bit.’’

The Warriors game was the first of a four-game West Coast trip, and Perkins was hoping to play again before that trip ended. Oklahoma City, which signed Perkins to a four-year, $34 million extension after the trade, decided to be more cautious.

Perkins needed just six months to recover from ACL surgery in July. Upon his return, he was playing restricted minutes until Shaquille O’Neal went down with an inflamed right Achilles’. Perkins quickly went back to playing starters’ minutes.

The Celtics have been riddled with injuries, and several players have tried to play through them.

“It’s a culture of what everybody should be, not just a championship team,’’ Rivers said. “I think if you can play, you play. There’s a difference between being hurt or in pain and being injured. And it always comes down to the individual players.

“The No. 1 quality of a great player is availability. The great players, they’re available most of the time. And when they’re not, they want to be available. We have a group of guys, they want to be on the floor as much as they can.’’

Wafer injured Von Wafer left the Celtics’ locker room wearing a boot on his right foot after straining his right calf in the first half of a 107-103 win over Golden State last night.

“I must have landed the wrong way or whatever,’’ he said.

Although the team originally expected him to return after intermission, it was determined that he wouldn’t. He is day to day.

“The calf is sore,’’ he said. “I think I sprained a muscle. That’s all.

“It’s not frustrating. It’s just what happened, so I’ve got to deal with it. I’m just going to try and get back as fast as I can.’’

Wafer is the 10th Celtics player to go down with an injury. Beyond Shaquille O’Neal (right Achilles’) and Jermaine O’Neal (left knee), the Celtics went into last night’s game shorthanded with Delonte West out with a sprained right ankle and Glen Davis out with a strained patella tendon in his left knee.

Rivers went with Wafer last night because he was reluctant to throw Sasha Pavlovic into the fray just two days after signing the 6-foot-7-inch small forward.

Lin back in town Back in Boston for the first time since leaving Harvard to make a run at the NBA, a part of Warriors guard Jeremy Lin wanted to be at Lavietes Pavilion last night for the Crimson’s game against Penn.

It’s a big weekend for his alma mater, which has a shot to win its first Ivy League title, a year after one of its biggest stars left.

“I knew they were going to be good because the recruits are unbelievable,’’ said Lin, fifth on Harvard’s scoring list. “Coach [Tommy] Amaker, the program he built was a lot more than just me. I think everybody in the program knew that. So for me, I’m not that surprised, the way they work.’’

Harvard won last night, improving to 22-5, breaking the team record for wins set last season. “Now they know,’’ Lin said. “Now they see what I’m talking about.’’

Lin picked up one valuable he left behind on his way out of Cambridge. He got his degree in economics, but because of draft workouts, he was unable to pick up his diploma until Thursday.

“Honestly, I wasn’t that excited to get it,’’ he said. “But once I got it, I was like, ‘Wow.’ It was pretty cool for me once I got it in my hands. I’m the first person in my family to graduate from an Ivy League [school]. So I’m very proud of that.’’

He said about 10 family members were at TD Garden for the game.

“Regardless of where I am, I’ve always wanted to go see at least one of their games in person, and I haven’t been able to. I really wish I could,’’ Lin said.

He’s trying to lock down his dream job in the NBA, but it’s nice having a Harvard degree to fall back on. Although, it leaves him open for locker room jokes.

“Now it’s not a problem anymore,’’ Lin said. “They don’t say, ‘Oh, you went to Harvard?’ anymore. They say, ‘I can’t believe you went to Harvard.’ ’’

Shaq near return O’Neal is lobbying to play tomorrow — on his 39th birthday — against Milwaukee, but Rivers wants to get the center more practice time. The target date for his return is Wednesday at home against the Clippers. “If nothing happens in practice.’’ Rivers said. “I’m scared to say that now with our shootarounds being so grueling.’’ . . . Signed with the Celtics low on players after the trade deadline, Chris Johnson could get a second 10-day contract. “I don’t know but I think we will,’’ Rivers said. “He hasn’t played much. In the Denver game, I thought he was terrific. If we can figure out a way to get him on [Glen Davis’s] weight program, he’d be terrific.’’ Johnson played nine minutes, grabbing two rebounds . . . Traded to Cleveland along with Luke Harangody, Semih Erden arrived out of game shape according to Cavaliers coach Byron Scott, and isn’t expected to play for several games. Harangody, who is dealing with a hip injury, scored 18 points in 22 minutes last night in a 119-115 win over the Knicks.

Julian Benbow can be reached at jbenbow@globe.com.

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