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Sunday, March 13, 2011
West eyes Wednesday return

By Chris Forsberg



BOSTON -- Celtics reserve guard Delonte West said there's lingering soreness in his sprained right ankle, but he's eying a return to the floor Wednesday night when the Indiana Pacers visit the TD Garden.

West, who has sat out the last six games, engaged in some light shooting before Sunday's tilt against the Milwaukee Bucks and said with three more days to ramp up his activity, he'll be ready to return to game action.

"There's still a little bit of soreness in [the ankle]," said West. "[I still] don't have my explosiveness. I've been able to push off of it; I can gingerly go through drills, but it's not putting that game pressure on it. A few more days should be sufficient."

West has appeared in just eight games this season for Boston. After sitting out the first 10 games due to suspension, he returned for five games before fracturing his right wrist in late November. He returned to the lineup the first game after the All-Star break and played in three more games before injuring the ankle during an informal practice session on Feb. 27.

West admits he didn't expect to be out as long as he has and his inability to stay on the court this season leaves him eager to get back out the floor.

"I've had ankle sprains, like most athletes have in their careers, and normally [it's a] two- or three-day turnaround," said West. "The way it happened, I still can't believe I'm still out this long because of it. But it's been a long season in that regard, so I'm pretty even keeled right now."

West played with Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic in their Boston debuts against the Los Angeles Clippers in late February, but the Boston second unit got another facelift soon after with the addition of a trio of free agents in Troy Murphy, Sasha Pavlovic, and Carlos Arroyo. The latter became a necessity with West sidelined and Rajon Rondo's minutes escalating.

West said he's not concerned about integrating with that second unit, just about carving out a role on this team in general moving forward.

"Well, it's not so much about helping the second unit. It's about putting myself in a position to help this team out any ways possible," said West. "I think my ability to defend smaller and quicker guards will help out, the same with my size. Also, timely shooting, being able to spread the floor. We have a lot of that, but the more we can open the floor up for our scorers and guys that can create, the better we're going to be, so I'm looking to contribute in more than just one aspect of the game."

Celtics coach Doc Rivers said West can make everyone forget about his regular-season injury woes by being a factor in the postseason.

"There’s still a lot of season left," said Rivers. "If Delonte didn’t play a game this year, then played well in the playoffs, you would say he had a successful season. At the end of the day, be available at the end."