WALTHAM — The Celtics are expected to have an open roster spot as coach Doc Rivers said Tuesday after practice that Darko Milicic is not expected to return to the team after attending to his ill mother in Serbia.
Milicic, expected to serve as the primary backup to Kevin Garnett at center, has played just five minutes this season and left the team before Sunday’s game against the Detroit Pistons to spend time with his mother. Rivers said he saw an immediate change in Milicic’s disposition when he found out the news about his mother and doesn’t expect the former lottery pick back.
“Most likely (he’s gone), yeah,” Rivers said. “Honestly the stuff with his family has been going on for a while. We’ve talked about it three or four times. It’s probably 50-50, but once you get the one side working, it’s always going to win out. It doesn’t look like (he’ll come back.”
Rivers said the Celtics are in “no rush” to sign a player to fill Milicic’s roster although players such as Kenyon Martin and Derek Fisher are available.
The Celtics are Milicic’s sixth team and he has gained the reputation of having bouts with confidence.
“His mom gets sick; he’s not playing, the whole sickness, it happens,” Rivers said. “I didn’t fight it much. I told him he’s got to do what he thinks is right. I am going to support him one way or the other. But it’s been going on for a little bit now. You could see a change when he found out she wasn’t doing well, no doubt about that.”