Doc Rivers received a phone call Sunday morning that no NBA coach wants in the moments leading to a Finals game.
On the other end was his starting center, Kendrick Perkins, who informed the Celtics' coach that he couldn't play in Game 5.
A strained left shoulder that Perkins sustained in a Game 4 collision with Lamar Odom early in the third quarter not only kept him but leaves his status for the rest of the series in limbo.
He dislocated the same shoulder two years ago, missing three games and required surgery at season's end to mend it.
"It's not often that guys get to go to the Finals," Perkins said. "I have the opportunity to play in the Finals, with the Celtics and Lakers and all that history, so to have that taken away is disappointing."
Perkins influence isn't felt on the offensive end; he is averaging only 4.5 points during the series. But Perkins is considered a key to their penny-pinching defense, where his space eating in the middle allows Kevin Garnett to roam from player to player.
"It's getting better day by day," Perkins said of his shoulder. "But the thing with the shoulder is, it takes time."
Leon Powe started in his place but did not re-enter the game after Rivers replaced him five minutes into the first quarter.
Instead, P.J. Brown and James Posey shared most of the time in the frontcourt, but the pair ended with only a combined seven points.
Garnett said he could taste an NBA championship after Boston's Game 4 win at Staples Center.
After Sunday, he was left with the bitter aftertaste of an evening spent battling foul trouble.
Garnett played only a quiet 33 minutes, limited early and often by foul trouble.
He ended with 13 points, 14 rebounds and four turnovers.
Ray Allen did not address the media after Game 5, leaving to attend to a health issue with one of his children. . . . Rajon Rondo played less than 15 minutes Sunday with Rivers saying the second-year point guard was not playing well, passing on open looks. "He's looking to be a passer," Rivers said. "He has to look to make more plays and be aggressive to the basket."