- Chris Forsberg, Celtics reporter, ESPNBoston.com
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The Boston Celtics ran through a 75-minute practice session on Tuesday without the benefit of seven players as Rajon Rondo (hamstring, feet), Shaquille O'Neal (calf), Glen Davis (illness), Nate Robinson (personal matter), Jermaine O'Neal (knee), Delonte West (wrist) and Kendrick Perkins (knee) were all absent from full-team drills.
When asked who of that group might not be available for Wednesday's game against the Denver Nuggets, coach Doc Rivers half-joked, "Maybe all of them."
Jermaine O'Neal, West and Perkins are out with long-term injuries, but Rivers may be able to get some of his other players back.
After being a late scratch in Sunday's win over the New Jersey Nets, Rondo did not participate in practice due to lingering soreness in his hamstring. He did make a brief appearance on the court following the session for some light shooting. Rivers deemed him "iffy" for Wednesday's game, but didn't discount the notion that he could need an extended rest.
"I just leave it up to [trainer Ed Lacerte]," said Rivers. "[An extended break] may come at some point. I don't think it's a bad suggestion. It's been suggested already, I can tell you that. Eddie knows when it's close enough to play.
"The injury scares me. Both the foot and the hamstring. The foot is not the problem right now, but the hamstring can go from a pull to a tear. When you get the tear, you are talking two months so it's a tough little situation."
Shaquille O'Neal, who sat out the second half of Boston's triumph in New Jersey, attended practice but did not participate in full-team drills. He didn't stop to chat with reporters afterward, but did say he was feeling "great."
Rivers also put him in the "iffy" category for Wednesday's game.
Davis reported to the team's practice facility, but was immediately shipped home because of a fever from what's believed to be the flu. He is questionable for Wednesday's game.
"Baby's sick and [him playing] depends on [the] severity of that," said Rivers. "I don't know. He had a 102- or 103-[degree] fever today. We try to get them out of the building as quickly as possible when anybody's sick because last year we had it and Orlando has already had it [this year]. We try to get them out. Now, Marquis [Daniels] was sick, but, unfortunately, he was sick two days ago, so I've got a feeling that's why Baby was sick."
Robinson left the team to deal with a family issue, but Rivers seemed most optimistic about his potential to play Wednesday.
"I think Nate will be back," said Rivers. "Nate had a family thing."
Once the Celtics' formal practice had concluded, Jermaine O'Neal came onto the court for about 25 minutes of activity while he worked with the training staff and coaches. He got up shots and moved fluidly despite wearing a large brace over the sore left knee that has sidelined him for 12 straight games.
In the face of mounting injuries, the Celtics got creative with practice, with Rivers trotting out a lineup that featured Daniels, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen all spending time at the point, trying to get them all used to potentially having to run the offense.
"Today, we had no Rondo, no Nate, no Glen Davis, no Delonte, no J.O. and no Shaq," said Rivers. "So it was a very difficult practice. So you've got to create a practice and we went with Marquis, Ray and Paul, at the 1, 2 and 3, and we ran an offense for an hour with that and it's good for them because we did that already once this year [when Rondo got injured], and we may have to do it again."
Pierce said injuries wouldn't affect the team's belief that they should win every time they step on the court.
"Well, as a young team, you make excuses -- we're injured, that's why we didn't win the game -- but with this group, it doesn't matter who we put on the court with injuries, we feel like we're going to win. We feel like we can win. And, so, no matter who we put out on that court, we feel like we've got a great chance of winning and we don't use it as an excuse."
Chris Forsberg covers the Celtics for ESPNBoston.com.
The Boston Celtics ran through practice on Tuesday without the benefit of seven players as Rajon Rondo, Shaquille O'Neal, Glen Davis, Nate Robinson, Jermaine O'Neal, Delonte West, and Kendrick Perkins were all absent.