June 17, 2007
Doc Rivers generally likes it when Kendrick Perkins stands up and tosses out challenges, and the big man didn't miss many targets this time.
By all accounts, Perkins has been getting after it hard at the Celtics facility this offseason, and, in his candid way, he believes it's time for all to step up.
``We've got a whole lot of work to do,'' Perkins said. ``I mean everyone.
``I think as far as an organization we've got to be like the Patriots right now. The Patriots went out and rebuilt. In the offseason you're supposed to find ways to better your team.
``We were the second-worst team in the league, so really besides Paul (Pierce), in my opinion every position is open.''
Even Al Jefferson's? ``Even Al's,'' said Perkins of his closest friend on the team. ``Every position is open to me except Paul. Despite what (Rajon) Rondo did this year and what Al did this year and what Gerald (Green) did, we still didn't win games. And that's what we're here for. Despite all the numbers, we still didn't win no games. So if you had 30 points and we lose and you had 12 defensive breakdowns, what good is it? We never really had a chance to have a healthy team and just play. We could never get on a roll. But guys have to play better.'' Perkins has no problem putting his work ethic where his mouth is. You can find him at Healthpoint Monday through Friday and sometimes Saturday. Even, on occasion, in the middle of the night.
``If at 3 in the morning I just happen to wake up and can't get back to sleep, I can come here and get a workout in,'' said Perkins, who's done the night owl routine two or three times. ``I get 20 minutes on the Stairmaster and 10 on the bike and go back home. It's only a six-minute drive . . . and it's free.''
He spends 4 1/2-5 hours a day in the gym, working on conditioning and game situations with the Celtics coaches.
``I think in the offseason it's the time to gain ground, to get ahead of people,'' Perkins said. ``Really there's no limit to what you can do. I mean, you've got a gym 24 hours.''
Even while adding lean muscle, Perkins has dropped from 288 pounds to 278.
``I'm trying to get down to between 260 and 265 by the start of the season,'' he said. ``I'll be there. It's a challenge because I don't really want to lose my size but I want to lose weight. I just want to be stronger.''
Strength is also a key issue with his left foot, a problem area last season with plantar fasciitis. Perkins has been getting daily treatment and sleeping with a compression sock.
``It's gotten a whole lot better,'' he said. ``I can still feel it some mornings, but it doesn't bother me at all when I'm working on the court.
``(Dr. Brian McKeon) wants me to do more for it even though it's not hurting. He wants to get it to where there's no pain at all. So I'm trying to stay on top of it. Even when there's no pain, I still try to do my same routine so it won't come back.''
Perkins toughed it out during the season, but it was clear the foot hampered his performance.
``I wouldn't wish it on nobody,'' he said. ``It felt like I had a rock in the bottom of my foot. It really affects you jumping, running. It affects everything. You're playing against the best competition in the world, and if you're not 100 percent it shows. There's no excuses if you're out there, but I'd be lying if I said it didn't have an affect on how I played. ``I just think if I can get into better shape and lose a few pounds, that will take a lot of pressure off my foot.''
But with Celtics Nation coming to grips with the fact that Greg Oden is not walking through its door, the pressure will be on Perkins to man the middle. He's preparing for the task most every day. And some nights.