Correction: They've been bigs.
Across the board, the Celtics' army of post players have been going through trying times. One just made his return Monday, a couple still remain injured, and another is dealing with a tough return to the second unit after spending three weeks in the starting five.
Oh, and there's one more big man who supposedly retired seven months ago but continues to linger behind the scenes. What does it all mean?
1. Kevin Garnett made his comeback Monday from a lower-leg injury, and it looks like he proved once and for all that a calf muscle is not a knee. This injury was nowhere near as scary as what he's been through in previous seasons with the Celtics — KG was back to full strength on Monday night against the Magic, and his stat line of 19 points, eight rebounds, two assists and two steals proved it. KG won the Celtics a game with his clutch steal from Jameer Nelson in the final seconds, and he'll surely win them many more going forward.
2. Jermaine O'Neal is faced with the biggest decision of his career, as he mulls his options with repairing his chronically sore knee. O'Neal could decide this week to have surgery, shutting him down for three months or maybe more, and there's even a chance that he'll never play again if he goes under the knife now. O'Neal said Friday that he doubts there will even be a "next year" — with the NBA's labor situation in doubt, he fears that a lockout could prevent him from returning next season if he has surgery. A year ago, O'Neal was a max-deal player making $23 million a year, and now he's fearing for his career.
3. The one guy who benefited most from Kevin Garnett's comeback, besides KG himself, was definitely Glen Davis. Big Baby was trying to do too much offensively in KG's absence, and it really hurt the team. In nine games as a starter, Davis took more shots from the field than anyone on the Celtics, and he shot only 41.1 percent. Baby finished the three-week stretch 51-for-124, Ray Allen was 69-for-114, and Paul Pierce was 65-for-117. Those numbers aren't right, and it took KG's return to set Baby straight. He's now back with the second unit where he belongs.
4. The one wild card in all this Celtic big-man talk? That would be Rasheed Wallace. The infamous Stephen A. Smith interview has been talked about all week, but there are still plenty of hurdles to Sheed returning to Boston. One, the Celtics have a full roster at 15; two, we have no idea whether Sheed is anything even nearly resembling game shape; and three, his own agent disputes that he's coming back. HoopsWorld's Sam Amick caught up last week with agent Bill Strickland, who said plainly that Wallace is "OK where he is." So don't expect Sheed back in Celtic green anytime soon.
5. Doc Rivers made history on Wednesday night when the C's beat the Kings, as he earned his 309th win and passed K.C. Jones for third place all time on Boston's career coaching wins list. But Rivers was quick to deflect the praise for the honor on Wednesday night, instead giving all the credit to the GM who hired him. "It's Danny Ainge at the end of the day," Rivers said. "I?m fully aware of that. We were bad for two years, and he stuck with me, and he believed in me. At the end of the day, it?s Danny Ainge more than it is me." Classy words from one of the NBA's classiest coaches.
6. Here's an interesting story you may have missed recently. CelticsHub blogger Hayes Davenport did a statistical study last week on the body mass indexes of every player in the NBA, and he used the numbers to determine the league's "fattest" teams. His findings? The Celtics are way up there, but they're only the second-most massive team in the league. "The Clippers are way fatter," he wrote. Shaquille O'Neal and Glen Davis are among the largest players in the NBA for their heights, but the slender frames of Delonte West and Rajon Rondo help balance that out.
7. Speaking of Rondo, he's got a pair of marquee matchups to look forward to at the end of this week. On Friday, he gets a visit from Deron Williams and the Jazz, and then the following night, he heads to Washington, D.C., for a showdown with rookie sensation John Wall. Rondo dodged Wall the first time around, as the youngster sat out the Wizards' Nov. 17 loss to the Celtics with an injury, but Wall is back now and he's playing like a man possessed. He's got five double-doubles already in 2011, including a 19-point, 15-assist effort against Williams and the Jazz on Monday. Come Saturday night, it'll finally be time for some Wildcat-on-Wildcat action. Brace yourselves, folks.