Seven months after suffering an ACL injury in the NBA Finals, Kendrick Perkins will make his return to the Boston Celtics tonight against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Originally Perkins was slated to return around the All-Star break, which begins February 18th. Word out of Celtics camp was that Perkins was well ahead of schedule, and even Perkins himself declared that he would be ready to play by February 4th against the Mavericks. Perkins had begun non-contact activity back in December, and it was apparent that he had worked extremely hard during his rehab.
Perkins told head coach Doc Rivers that he's ready to go and wants to play. Needless to say, Doc agreed, "Honestly, he wanted to play Tuesday. He's already approached me about that..."
The return of Perkins fills the hole left by Shaquille O'Neal, who is expected to be sidelined for a couple of games.
Boston will limit his minutes severely, but everyone is just happy to have the big enforcer back for the C's. Don't expect Perkins to start, or even play more than 20 minutes tonight, since he will probably need a week or two to get back into game shape.
The return of Perkins comes at a great time as the Celtics will embark on a West Coast road trip after tonight's Cavs game, in which they will face the Blazers, Suns and the infamous Lakers.