Kendrick Perkins won’t play, Doc Rivers says
Kendrick Perkins didn’t sleep much Tuesday night. The question of “why” wouldn’t let him. So, the Boston Celtics center tossed, turned and wondered about the injury that will keep him out of Thursday’s Game 7 against the Lakers in the NBA Finals.
“Maybe I shouldn’t have gone for that offensive rebound, maybe then things would’ve been different,” he thought, mulling over the first-quarter play in Tuesday’s Game 6 when he tore his medial collateral and posterior cruciate ligaments in his right knee.
Guard Rajon Rondo stopped by Perkins’ hotel room. The two talked for a few hours, not much about Perkins’ injury, but about what the Celtics would do next. Perkins told Rondo he needs to be more aggressive, that he needs to attack the basket.
“He was sitting there telling me they missed me on the defensive end and stuff like that,” Perkins said, “but I was sitting there telling him, ‘You’ve got to get this win. You can’t worry about if I’m going to be there. You’ve got to worry about just getting this win, whatever it takes.’”
Whatever it takes won’t include Perkins, whom Celtics Coach Doc Rivers ruled out of Thursday’s game.
“Somebody else has to step up then,” Rondo said. “No excuses. They can’t be Perk, but they’ve got to try to be as close to Perk as they can.”
Rivers wouldn’t reveal his plan, but it’s likely that Rasheed Wallace will start in place of Perkins and that Glen Davis, along with Shelden Williams, will play extended minutes. Brian Scalabrine could also be activated.
“We’re going to need him big tomorrow,” Rivers said of Wallace. “His experience will help. We’ll just see how many minutes he can go. Him and Baby and Shelden and Scal and Marquis [Daniels], we’ll figure it out.”
Minus Perkins, the Celtics lose their key enforcer inside. While not hugely productive on offense, he’s a strong rebounder who gave Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum trouble with his physicality.
“They lose a little bit of toughness on the defensive side of the basketball, but other than that, offensively, they bring a three-point shooter in and they space us out, so it works both ways,” said Lakers center Andrew Bynum, who has played through a sore right knee but said he’s ready to go.
Ron Artest wasn’t convinced that Perkins would miss Thursday’s game, perhaps pulling a Willis Reed-type return, but that doesn’t seem likely.
For Perkins, who said he’ll get an MRI Friday, nothing makes this easier.
“I just keep thinking about the situation and then the Finals, Game 7, and you can’t do nothing but watch from the side,” Perkins said. “Physically, I’ll get through it. It’s nothing serious. But mentally, it’s hard. The only thing that will get me through this is a win tomorrow.”
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