Rondo Not Hamstrung by Hornets

Providence Journal Bulletin (RI)
Copyright 2008 ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved.
Section: Sports

Some interesting tidbits from the Providence Journal. Highlights include:

--Rondo wasn't about to miss the Hornets Game

--Rondo's hamstring injury gave Cassell more practice time

--PJ is a happy camper, very happy

[text of article]

The Celtics received a minor scare earlier this week when starting guard Rajon Rondo suffered a hamstring injury that sidelined him for practice on Thursday.

But Rondo told his teammates that there was no way that he was going to miss last night's game against New Orleans.

"I knew I was playing [on Thursday]," Rondo said before the game.

Rondo said his hamstring started bothering him in Boston's victory over Phoenix on Wednesday and that's why he remained on the sideline after Boston built a big second-half lead late in the game.

So why did he want to play so badly last night instead of resting his hamstring?

Because he wanted to try to help Boston beat New Orleans -- the only NBA team that Boston had not beaten this season entering last night's action -- and to face New Orleans All-Star guard Chris Paul.

"Chris Paul has been doing an excellent job all year," Rondo said. "He's an MVP candidate."

Rondo showed no signs of his injury early in the game. He scored eight points on 4-for-5 shooting and had two assists in the first quarter.

Talkin' 'Bout Practice

Rondo not practicing on Thursday helped newcomer Sam Cassell, who is still trying to find his groove with Boston.

"It allowed Sam to be with one unit the entire practice so that was probably good for him," Boston coach Doc Rivers said.

Brown is one happy Celtic

P.J. Brown came out of retirement to sign with the Celtics on Feb. 27 in an attempt to win an NBA championship.

The 6-foot-11, 239-pound center is a 15-year NBA veteran who was named to the NBA All-Defensive second team three times, but he has played only limited minutes for Boston so far this season. That may change in the playoffs once he gets a full grasp of Boston's playbook and improves his game shape.

"I'm just trying to prepare myself," Brown said of perhaps playing a larger role in the playoffs. "All I can do is control what I can take care of, so I try to stay in the gym and do what I need to do from that standpoint and when my name is called, be ready to go.

"I've come a long way these four weeks. It was a lot harder and a lot tougher four weeks ago, but there are still some things I need to iron out -- but nothing major."

Boston signed Brown to be a defensive specialist in the playoffs.

"We're going to use him in-and-out," Rivers said. "He's just part of that committee that in some games I'll use him and then I won't. I will say he has picked up things pretty well. The defensive rotations, because he was in a [Pat] Riley system, I thought allowed him to pick things up a little quicker than everybody else."

Along with the Celtics, Brown said that he was also considering re-signing with the Hornets, the team he played for from 2000 to 2006 before he was traded to Chicago for the 2006-07 season.

"Being in my own backyard, it would have been very comfortable for me to go back there and sign there. But ... in the end I could only pick one team and I came to Boston," said Brown, who played college ball at LSU. "This is where I feel like I belong and I'm glad I'm here."

Brown loves being in Boston.

"This is a very fun team to be around. I'm excited to come to work. It hasn't been that way in a long time. I really enjoy coming to the gym, preparing, getting with these guys and working with them. They are a great group to work with."

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