Ratliff has a lot to prove next season

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 2, 2007

DEMOPOLIS &8212; Theo Ratliff has had an impressive career. The Demopolis native graduated from Demopolis High School, played college basketball at Wyoming and was the 18th pick of the 1995 NBA Draft by the Detroit Pistons.

Since being drafted, Ratliff has played for five teams in the league, Pistons, 76ers, Hawks, Trail Blazers and now the Celtics, for the past 13 years. During that time he has twice lead the league in rebounds and is currently fourth among active players in the league in blocks, trailing Dikembe Mutombo, Shaquille O&8217;Neal and Alonzo Mourning.

But the shot-blocking center has seen his share of adversity along with the success. Ratliff admits he is prone to injury. He cracked a knee cap his second year into the NBA, broke a wrist prior to the 20001 all-star game, where he was voted starting center, and has also had a hip replacement. Currently he is rebounding from a back surgery for an injury sustained early last season.

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Ratliff said he has been training hard since his surgery to get back in shape. He said he has been working with personal trainers and doctors to get in peak form by the time camp starts for the Celtics.

Unfortunately, Ratliff&8217;s career is hazy at the moment. Though he is slated to early $11.7 million next season, it is unclear if it will come from the coffers of the Celtics or another NBA franchise. Rumors have surfaced that the Celtics might send Ratliff to another team in order to grab up other prospects.

Though he might not dress out in the green and white next year, Ratliff said he wants to get out and prove he is back into shape. He said despite the adversity he has faced he still loves the game and isn&8217;t ready to leave just yet.