A Turn for the Worse

March 26, 2002

MIAMI - After he sprained his ankle Sunday against Detroit, point guard Kenny Anderson termed his status "game-to-game."

Yesterday, the Celtics decided it was best to place the veteran on the injured list. He must miss five games and cannot return until the Celtics play the Lakers April 5.

   "You never know the extent of your injury until you have 24 hours to look at it and see how he wakes up the next day, and have [trainer] Ed Lacerte put his fingers on it and just judge how serious it is," said coach Jim O'Brien. "We're looking at 7-10 days, with 10 days being more realistic."

Anderson actually will have 11 days to rest and rehabilitate his ankle without the pressure of coming back too soon. Last season, after rushing back from a broken jaw, Anderson never was able to fully regain his form and conditioning. Ultimately, a sprained right ankle on Feb. 26 ended his season, as Anderson missed the final 26 games because he could not get back up to speed. With the playoffs ahead, Anderson is exercising caution.

"It's useless [to keep me on the active roster]," said Anderson. "If I'm going to sit out 7-10 days, it makes common sense [to go on the IL] because that's five games. I'm just going to get treatment and get it stronger. I don't want to be a liability to the team. We're trying to get to the playoffs, and when we get to the playoffs, I want to be strong. I've got to take that all into consideration. But it's a tough pill to swallow right now."

Joseph Forte took Anderson's place on the active roster but did not play. The rookie had been on the injured list with a sprained left ankle since Feb. 19. He has not played since getting two minutes in a loss to Golden State Feb. 13.

Name that play

Six words you never like to hear your new starting point guard utter with regards to running the offense: "Sometimes it's like a guessing game." But that's exactly what Tony Delk said about his comfort level as floor general for the Celtics. The loss of Anderson led to some reshuffling of the guard rotation against Miami. While Delk got his first start at point guard for the Celtics, Paul Pierce moved to shooting guard, and Eric Williams started at small forward.

O'Brien said he was confident placing the offense in Delk's hands, even though the veteran has played just 15 games with Boston this season and only started at shooting guard. Delk said he's still learning the system.

"At this point, I'm still trying to learn the offense from that position," said Delk. "I think I've gotten used to playing the 2 [shooting guard]. Point guard is a new role, but it's something I've got to do to help the team out. I'd be a lot more comfortable if I was here since the beginning of the season. I'd know the plays that they'd want and it'd make it that much easier because I could come down and get right into the play.

"You're running one play and you're like, 'OK, is this the right play?' It's a challenge, but I still have teammates that should help me and walk me through it."

After a rough start last night, in which he recorded only 3 assists and 2 points, Delk believes it's only a matter of time before he gets comfortable. Heat is on

Remember when the Heat started 5-23? The last time the Heat played the Celtics they were suffering through a six-game losing streak, but that was nothing compared to the 12-game skid that happened only a couple weeks earlier. Still, Miami coach Pat Riley stood in the FleetCenter and said there was plenty of time left for a playoff run considering all the parity in the East. He was right, and when his team won 12 of 15 leading up to the All-Star break, Miami found itself right back in the hunt. But now, even Riley acknowledges time is short. "Now, we have our backs firmly planted against the wall," said Riley, whose team is now 4 games out of the final playoff position in the East. "There's still a lot of time left, but we have got to do it ourselves. We can't depend on somebody else beating Indiana and Charlotte. We've got to win games and we've got to beat those teams when we play them."When we played [the Celtics] up in Boston, there wasn't any pressure. That's what happened when we started to make our comeback. Nobody expected anything from us. Then, all of a sudden, we began to win. Now the expectations are there and the pressure is beginning to build and we're not responding." . . . After last night's loss, Eddie Jones bristled at the suggestion the Heat might be quitting. "We aren't quitting," said Jones. "We don't have any quit in us. If we did, at 5-23 would have quit." . . . It was another night of bumps and bruises for Pierce, who was seen rubbing his left shoulder and the left side of his neck during the game. He also suffered a small cut inside his mouth. Pierce said he'll feel the effects of Miami's physical play today, but said he'll be good to go against Golden State tomorrow.

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