About an hour before tonight’s scheduled 7:30 tip, Al Jefferson sat with old teammate Orien Greene on the Pacers bench while both teams warmed up. Tonight’s game will be the first Jefferson has watched from the bench since his appendectomy a week ago.
Jefferson was greeted with some playful ribbing by his teammates in the locker room. Gerald Green called him skinny.
“I’m not skinny,” Jefferson said. “I just lost a little weight. I’m trying to find it.”
Jefferson said he has lost about ten pounds, meaning he now weighs about 250 pounds. He said he hasn’t weighed 250 pounds since ninth grade.
“Last year I would have killed to be 250,” said Jefferson, who lost about 30 pounds over the summer.
Jefferson is working with a nutritionist to gain some of what weight back, and says he wants to eat a lot of chicken and pasta to make sure he puts “good weight” back on.
Despite doctors’ predictions that he needs to sit out for at least a week-and-a-half before returning to the practice court, Jefferson hopes he can return to practice next Wednesday. He says he has a little abdominal soreness and describes his condition as about 85 percent.
“I just did what I normally do,” he said. “I come in early, get my shots up, run a little bit. Coach always tells me just to be ready.”
Paul Pierce tried to diagnose the team’s problems before the game.
“We feel like the last couple of games we’ve kind of beaten ourselves,” he said. “We’re going to have these types of lows. It’s better early. These types of runs we don’t want to have late in the season when we’re pushing for the playoffs. Hopefully we can learn from it and not get ourselves too deep into the hole so we’re not scratching and clawing.”
Pierce was asked about how he was dealing with Boston’s young players.
“You just got to be patient with them. It’s easy to get frustrated with them. It’s like a newborn baby. You want them to grow up so fast. But you have to understand they’re very young and they have to grow and learn. A lot of these guys don’t know how to win. It’s different when you’re trying to win in the NBA.”
Pierce still thinks the Celtics have a shot at the playoffs.
“Do I see us in the Eastern Conference? Yes. And even in the Western Conference. You look at the other teams and they’ve gotten off the slow starts also. You look at teams that you would mention as playoff teams but if they started today they wouldn’t be in the playoffs.”
“He has what a lot of these guys in here have: A lot of potential,” said Pierce. “It depends on how hard Orien wants to go out here and work.”
Doc Rivers explained Boston’s decision for releasing Greene:
“It was tough,” he said. “We didn’t have those plans. He was the odd man out. He has some weaknesses obviously he has to work on. But he’s a big guard. He will be in this league for a long time.”
“I don’t see it,” said Rivers. “He’s not even comfortable staying at games to sit. It’s not good obviously. You just hope it gets better. It’s the back. I think we’re just going to have to let it run its course.”