Anthony Gruppuso/US Presswire
Celtics forward/center Chris Wilcox will avoid surgery on his right thumb.BOSTON -- Celtics forward/center Chris Wilcox received the encouraging news Tuesday that he won't need surgery on his injured right thumb, but that only did so much to alleviate the frustration he feels over not being on the court yet again.
Wilcox suffered a sprained ulnar collateral ligament while trying to draw a charge during the Celtics' 100-89 loss to the Chicago Bulls on Dec. 18, and received the dispiriting news a short while later that he would be out what was originally pegged as 3-4 weeks.
"I fell in the Chicago game and I tried to catch myself. After the game I thought I just jammed it," Wilcox said prior to Wednesday's 93-83 loss to the Grizzlies. "Then when I came here, we had a game, I went to grab a ball, and I couldn't palm it. I couldn't grab it or nothing. It was killing me. So the [doctor] told me I had to take some time off. It would be a while. I've got to let it heal.
"Definitely frustrating. I just want to come back and just play. It's always frustrating when you're hurting and it's just been the same story for me for a minute here. I just want to get out there and just play, so that's why I'm here. They were like, 'You don't have to come in,' but I just want to be around the fellas. I was out all of last season."
There's currently no timetable for Wilcox to return, though he will be re-evaluated by doctors next Tuesday, and the results of that meeting could produce a target date. In the meantime, he's sporting a small gray brace that anchors the thumb in place.
"It's crazy because you don't really know how much you need your thumb," Wilcox said. "If it had been any other finger they would have been like, 'You can just tape them together,' but you can't really tape your thumb or nothing. That's just the big thing right now. But other than that, I'm just day-to-day, whatever the [doctor] says on Tuesday and then we'll go from there."
Wilcox admitted the thumb injury drastically pales in comparison to the severity of his heart condition that kept him out of the second half of last season. But having fought through that type of adversity has left Wilcox impatient with more minor maladies like his current one. Factor in the lower-back woes that derailed his start to the 2012-13 season, and it's easy to understand his frustrations.
Similar to how he was developing a steady rhythm just before heart surgery ended his 2011-2012 season, Wilcox's thumb injury came at a point when he felt like he was starting to find a solid groove after the lower-back problems in October slowed his attempts to improve his conditioning and work out the way he would have liked. In 23 games this season, Wilcox has averaged 4.7 points and 2.3 rebounds in just over 13 minutes per game. But he once again showed an ability to run the floor well and be a consistent target on the break for Rajon Rondo.
While this injury at least grants him the freedom to work on his conditioning, Wilcox can do little beyond that, other than, once again, playing the waiting game.
"It was definitely rough coming back, then I started to get into a groove and started getting my feet up under me and things started working out for me," Wilcox said. "I started getting the feel of the game back a little more, every game that I was playing in. It was just like, 'Boom,' and then here this goes. I've been working out, still been training. I've been trying to keep myself in shape and doing things like that, so hopefully when I do come back, I can kind of pick up where I left off."