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NESO'S TAKE ON SPORTS

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Healthy Chances: The Number One Concern with the Boston Celtics

The Celtics were 27-27 after Christmas last season. Obviously, they hit their stride in the playoffs and made a run to the Finals.

Critics and fans both figured that injuries to Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Marquis Daniels played a major role in the team’s inconsistencies. However, the Celtics were the fourth seed in the East because of their amazing start to the season, when they were healthy.

See the problem?

Last season at this time, Boston was dominating the league. This season, although 6-2, the Celtics are getting thinner and thinner at Power Forward and Center. Last season, injuries triggered a period of late game collapses and blown double-digit leads.

Kendrick Perkins is out until January with the injury he suffered in the Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers. Shaquille O’Neal is 38-years-old, and just one week into the season is suffering from sore knees.

Of course, Shaq’s injury problems are to be expected. He won’t be playing more than 15-20 minutes per game, and is very much a role player. However, Jermaine O’Neal was also sidelined with a sore knee.

I hope the Celtics’ training staff is giving the O’Neal’s some extra rest to make sure they can stay healthy for as much of the season as possible.

As of now, Kevin Garnett, Glen Davis and Semih Erden are the team’s only big men. Erden is tall, but he is also raw. This season is his fist in the NBA, and Garnett is no longer the 38-40 minutes per game rock he once was.

Essentially, the C’s are painfully thin at a place where they need to be deep.

Boston needs to get healthy at big man to remain at the top of the East, and the team cannot go the whole season with important players (whether role players or starters) on the bench.

Delonte West has two games left on his suspension, and Kendrick Perkins will be a massive boost (no pun intended) when he returns in January.

If the Celtics are able to maintain their high-level of play until they get some bodies back, they’ll be poised to make a run at the first or second seed in the East.

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