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Friday, October 17, 2008
Cavs' West taking medication, undergoing therapy for mood disorder

Associated Press

CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Cavaliers guard Delonte West contemplated quitting before leaving the team's training camp to seek help for depression and "a mood disorder" he has been battling his entire life.

West, who recently signed a two-year contract with Cleveland, said he removed himself from the team to "get my thoughts back together." He missed three preseason games during his absence from Oct. 4-15.

West

West

"I felt a feeling of anger and I just wanted to throw it all away and quit the team," he said.

The 25-year-old candidly discussed his condition following practice on Friday. West said he had been troubled by his behavior toward a high school referee during a scrimmage at the Cavs' training facility on Oct. 3. West took out his frustrations on the official, and said the incident was a warning signal for him to seek treatment to combat an illness that has troubled him for years.

"I needed help," he said.

West is taking medication and has been attending therapy sessions.

"In a sense, you feel like a weaker man because you have to raise your hand and ask for help," West said. "But I found out over the last week that it made me a stronger person. I came back focused, and with the help of some medicine and talking with people on a regular basis, I'm back in good spirits.

"I'm back here 100 percent."

West played 28 minutes in Cleveland's loss to San Antonio on Thursday night. He made only 2-of-12 shots from the field and scored only 7 points, but the former Saint Joseph's guard said it was "the funnest game I've played in years."

"Being on the court felt like being on the playground as a child again," he said. "I had the time of my life last night."

West was acquired by the Cavaliers last season from Seattle as part of an 11-player trade before the Feb. 21 deadline. He was one of Cleveland's best players in the postseason, averaging 10.8 points, 3.3 rebounds and 4.2 assists in 13 games.

He entered the offseason as a restricted free agent. On Sept. 12, the Cavaliers, who were eliminated in the Eastern Conference finals last season by Boston, signed him to a two-year deal that included a club option for the 2011-12 season.

West is expected to compete with Daniel Gibson for playing time in Cleveland's backcourt alongside Mo Williams.

West said his mood problems date to his childhood. He has always been able to find peace in the gym, but he has struggled with relationships away from the floor.

West said his mood swings seem to be most erratic when his life seems to be in order.

"When everything is on the upside, I'm feeling the worst," said West, who thanked his teammates, including LeBron James, for their support while he was away.

"This is the epitome of a family organization," he said. "I want to go to war for these people. I would die for them, I really mean that."

Cavaliers coach Mike Brown wasn't surprised to hear that West was open about discussing his condition.

"He's a good guy," Brown said. "He's a trustworthy guy and forthright."

West said he's not concerned about any outside perception about his condition and he's not worried about what others think about him.

"Only God is my judge," he said. "All that matters is how I feel about myself."