Leon Powe, who spent the first three seasons of his NBA career with the Boston Celtics, winning a championship during the 2007-08 campaign, could see his first game action of the current season against his former employer.
After missing the first 58 games of the 2009-10 season, former Celtics forward Leon Powe could return Thursday vs. his old team.Powe, who missed the first 57 games of the 2009-10 season while recovering from microfracture surgery on his left knee, was active for the first time with the Cleveland Cavaliers in Tuesday's win over the New Orleans Hornets.
As the Cavs trek to Boston for Thursday's Eastern Conference showdown, it's unlikely Powe could have asked for a better stage to make his return. If it happens, it would mark the second straight game with a sentimental return, after Eddie House visited the Garden Tuesday with the New York Knicks, just five days after a deadline deal sent him to the Big Apple in a five-player swap.
Before Tuesday's game against the Hornets, Powe found a blue No. 44 jersey hanging in his locker and reveled in reaching another milestone in his recovery.
"It looks real good," he told the Cleveland Plain Dealer with a grin before Tuesday's game. "I've been waiting a long time just to put it on. I'm going to have some fun [Tuesday], but the main thing is to help my team get the win.
"I've come in and worked my butt off. So it's paying off now. This is step one."
Celtics coach Doc Rivers expressed excitement Wednesday in seeing Powe again, particularly if he's able to play.
A lot of people didn't think he'd ever play again after he hurt [his knee] the first time. Clearly they don't know who Leon Powe is.
”-- Celtics coach Doc Rivers
"It'll be nice to see him playing basketball, I'm looking forward to it," said Rivers. "He's a success story in a lot of different ways. A lot of people didn't think he'd ever play again after he hurt [his knee] the first time. Clearly they don't know who Leon Powe is. That kid will always be a success story."
Powe averaged 7.7 points and 4.9 rebounds per game last season before the knee injury, sustained in Game 2 of Boston's first-round battle with the Bulls, ended his year.
Boasting a full 15-man roster and unable to wait for him to recover, the Celtics elected not to re-sign Powe in the offseason and the 6-foot-8, 240-pound forward instead inked a deal with the rival Cavaliers.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas is expected to re-sign with Cleveland after reportedly accepting a buyout from the Washington Wizards, but even before his addition, Powe finds himself in a dogfight for minutes with the likes of Jamison, J.J. Hickson, and Anderson Varejao.