Celtics Scuffling With Injuries As Crucial Game 6 Looms


Celtics Scuffling With Injuries As Crucial Game 6 Looms If you know playoff basketball, you know the nature of the beast. Everyone's banged up this time of year. Everyone deals with a nagging injury here or there.

One injury report coming out of the Celtics' locker room in the middle of a heated playoff series is no big deal.

But six? That's cause for alarm.

Coming into the playoffs, the Celtics were the healthiest they'd been all year. Everyone was peaking physically at the right time, and the men in green were ready to roll.

But this week has been a nightmare.

In the past two games, the Celtics have seen half their roster afflicted with various physical ailments, not to mention the technical difficulties faced by Kendrick Perkins. Everyone's banged up this time of year, sure. But for the Celtics, things have gotten really bad, really fast. Here's a breakdown:

Tony Allen twisted his ankle in Game 4 on Monday night. He was discreet about it, not revealing anything to the media until two days later, and he played through the pain admirably in Games 4 and 5. But you have to wonder if maybe he's a little bit slowed by the injury. T.A. hasn't quite been himself this week, and he could use a little extra hop in his step.

Rajon Rondo experienced muscle spams toward the end of the first half Monday night. He left the floor and returned to the Celtics' locker room for treatment, but he has maintained since Monday that he feels fine. We'll see if he plays like it.

Glen Davis suffered a concussion Wednesday night after taking a hard elbow to the head from Orlando's Dwight Howard. His injury looked scary at first, but coach Doc Rivers assured the media that Big Baby was doing better Thursday. His headaches have subsided, and he seems fine — Doc says that after a few more tests performed by the team's medical staff, his status for Game 6 will be a game-time decision.

Marquis Daniels was the second Celtic concussion. Rivers reports that Daniels isn't doing as well as Davis, and he looks unlikely to play Friday night.

Paul Pierce, if you can believe it, was almost forgotten in all the commotion of Wednesday night, but he too has seen better days physically. Pierce on Wednesday suffered his fourth shoulder stinger in as many months; he's been playing through it all the while, but you have to imagine the pain's getting to him at this point. The Celtics can only hope their captain will be at full strength come Friday.

Rasheed Wallace is another serious concern. Sheed began experiencing back spasms late in Wednesday night's game, and Doc says he hasn't looked any better today. The coach reports that Sheed wasn't able to sit during the team's morning film session because of back pain. He's now feeling better, but he's another game-time decision for Friday.

So what happens now? Any one of these health issues in a vacuum would be no problem, but six of them can add up. The Celtics may be up 3-2 on the Magic, but this Game 6 definitely has the feel of a must-win game. You lose this one, and you're back in Orlando for Game 7, on the road against a team with all the momentum.

The Celtics are banged up. But they've got to pull themselves together, just for one night. Win Friday, and they'll have a week to rest.

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