Monday, February 14, 2011
Delonte West returning to lineup
By Greg Payne
Special to ESPNBoston.com
WALTHAM, Mass. -- Boston Celtics reserve guard Delonte West is expected to log his first game minutes in nearly three months on Wednesday, against the same New Jersey Nets team the Celtics were playing when he fractured his right wrist Nov. 24.
West participated in the entire Celtics practice session on Monday, and, barring any residual soreness after Tuesday's session, he will be in the lineup on Wednesday, said coach Doc Rivers.
"Delonte's going to play," said Rivers. "The only thing is, obviously, if [Tuesday] he goes through the practice and it gets sore, and then we'll pull him. Because, if it's to a point where it's not right, I'm not going to play him."
Rivers said he is hoping West will play so he can get a jump start on regaining his in-game stamina and timing before the team's upcoming West Coast road trip.
"[West's timing and stamina] will not be right [immediately]," said Rivers. "That's why it'd be great to get him one game, so when we go out west, he's already had the one game out of the way. He'll also understand how far he is away, probably, with timing and stamina and it'll give him a gauge on how much he has to work."
West participated in his first full-contact practice session last Wednesday and said his conditioning was fine but he needed work on his timing.
"I definitely surprised myself," he said. "I was able to go full-contact. I got down in there, scrapped it around with the big guys a little bit. My conditioning was there, [my] timing [was] a little off. A lot of things working at the same time, trying to re-think the plays and also dealing with going against the starting five, one of the best defenses in the league. That's the way to welcome me back."
West deemed himself "85 percent" at last week's practice, and cautioned that he might not be back to 100 percent for six months as he endures some leftover discomfort in the surgically repaired area. West's wrist was taped at practice and had a small brace over it, and he said he would most likely use a similar method of protection once he starts playing in games again.
"I still can't fully rotate my wrist all the way around," West admitted. "There's still a lot of pain in there. But that doesn't mean the bone isn't healed. It doesn't mean I'm not going to be able to play. I just have to deal with some discomfort for a few months."
West said that he watches kung fu videos, as well as other professional sports, in an attempt to teach himself how to fall without placing his wrist in any greater danger.
"I've been doing my research," West said. "I'm not trying to make a joke here, but I've been studying kung fu and, seriously, guys that fall for a living. I was watching football games up until the Super Bowl. Those guys deal with contact all the time and hitting the ground. They try their best to prevent putting hands down. They do tucks and rolls and there's a few things I can do to prevent really putting my hands down and causing further injury."
Greg Payne is a student intern for ESPNBoston.com