Welcome to the Garden, where the Celtics are set to take on the Philadelphia 76ers at 8 p.m.
Gerald Green stopped to look at a picture of himself on the back cover of the Boston Herald on his way onto the court for pregame warm-ups. The Herald’s headline, “Stress Test”, emphasized that the Celtics’ young players need to step up in the absence of Paul Pierce. The Celtics captain has a stress reaction in his left foot and could miss 2-4 weeks, according to Celtics physician Brian McKeon.
Green, a small forward, figures to be the player most impacted by Pierce’s absence. Warming up with a long-sleeve shirt on in the sometimes cold TD Banknorth Garden, the lanky second-year forward was rusty shooting the ball before the game. Green is expected to start tonight in place of Pierce, according to Celtics.com.
Rajon Rondo, another player likely to see increased minutes in Pierce’s absence, spent a good chunk of his pregame warm-ups practicing free throws. A three-guard lineup of Rondo, Sebastian Telfair, and Delonte West is not out of the question for the Celtics tonight. Boston is 5-14 without Pierce since 1998.
Wally Szczerbiak, Kendrick Perkins, and Theo Ratliff are all out for the Celtics. Michael Olowokandi is questionable. Olowokandi was not warming up as of 6:20 p.m.
Philadelphia enters tonight’s game on a 12-game losing streak. The Sixers said goodbye to the Allen Iverson era earlier in the week and await the arrival of Andre Miller. No word yet on whether Miller will play tonight. Chris Webber is questionable for Philly, and Shavlik Randolph is out with an ankle injury.
We’ll be back in a bit with the full injury report and tonight’s starting lineups, as well as comments from the Celtics locker room.