Celtics notebook

Recuperating West expects to play this year

By Gary Washburn and Julian Benbow
Globe Staff / December 4, 2010

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Delonte West made his first appearance at TD Garden last night since breaking his right wrist Nov. 24 against New Jersey, and said he is in good spirits.

West, with his arm in a sling, said he is looking forward to his recovery and will have his cast removed in two weeks. He expects to play again this season.

“I feel good, man,’’ he said. “Of course there was a lot of pain from the surgery. I dealt with the nausea, [medication] wearing off. Today is the first day I felt decent. No headaches. The pain has gone away. It will be smooth sailing from here.’’

West was suspended by the NBA for the first 10 games of the season, stemming from September 2009 gun charges. He was just getting comfortable with his reserve role when he snapped the wrist on a fall after being knocked off balance by Nets forward Travis Outlaw on a layup attempt.

“It definitely hurt,’’ said the seventh-year guard. “It was one of the worst breaks of my life. I have broken eight bones in my life they have all been in [my right] hand or this wrist. It’s one of those things. It was the worst thing I’ve ever felt, saw the bones come right out the arm. I felt it right away. I don’t even want to go back to that day.’’

The frightening injury serves as yet another challenge for West, who has dealt with multiple issues the past few years. West said he will not allow the setback to derail his career.

“You know what? I got right back up and can’t feel sorry for myself,’’ he said. “Feeling sorry for myself, them days are over with. I gotta get back up again. The Lord is trying to get my attention, trying to show me something. He has my undivided attention now. And my eyes are open, seeing what I can do to help out in the community, help out off the court, and wait this out.’’

Because the injury is to his non-shooting hand, West said he will take jumpers and work on other drills to maintain his conditioning. He worked tirelessly during training camp and the suspension to stay sharp.

“That’s what I have to do,’’ he said. “I can’t hang my head and cry about it, it happened. It’s over. It’s on to the next mission.’’

Mirror images Kevin Garnett added to his war of words with Joakim Noah after dropping 20 points and 17 rebounds.

“I’m going to tell you something about people, man,’’ Garnett said. “Everybody has an opinion and obviously he had one. I’m not entertaining nor addressing nobody’s. I’m not even entertaining them. I’m focused on basketball and these wins and trying to make this team better.’’

The irony, though, is that when most people watch the older, surlier Garnett and the young, stubborn Noah, they see the same qualities.

“They’re high-, high-energy guys,’’ said Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, who saw Garnett’s fire-breathing ways firsthand for three seasons. “They’re multiple-effort guys. They bring a lot of juice to the team. I think Kevin’s been doing it at a high level for a long time in this league. I think the way he gets himself going is with his energy, his talking.’’

Glen Davis, a young player who has been on the receiving end of Garnett’s intensity, said some players have a hard time accepting Garnett’s methods.

“Unless you’re on the same team as him,’’ Davis said. “Other than that, he’s just a fierce competitor. He doesn’t care who comes in. You can be my friend. At the end of the day, when we’re on the court, he’s trying to rip your head off. That’s the way he plays.

“It’s kind of hard. A lot of guys are kind of hurt. I see a lot of guys hurt, like him not being open and welcome and ‘Welcome to the league!’ No, it’s not how he feels.’’

Alumni association In town for the game, Rasheed Wallace broke into Thibodeau’s postgame news conference and barked at his former coach, “I need a job!’’ He then walked into the Bulls’ locker room and took a cue from the TD Garden fans, yelling, “Scalabrine!’’ joking with his former teammate. Wallace retired last summer after 15 seasons in the league.

Pacing themselves Last season, the Celtics started to scale back shootarounds to give a veteran team more rest, but coach Doc Rivers said the players didn’t establish the right routine until late in the season. Now, he said, they’ve found a rhythm that works (for instance, shooting around yesterday morning after a back-to-back and an offday).

“We had the 48-hour rule,’’ Rivers said. “Meaning, if you played back-to-back games and you had the day off [and] then played the next one, you had to do something in the morning. Early on last year we didn’t, we hadn’t figured that out yet. Rest over brain. Brain over rest. We went back and forth over that. We still do.’’

Home security With last night’s 104-92 victory, the Celtics are riding a six-game winning streak, but more importantly they are 9-1 at TD Garden. Last season, they suffered a handful of embarrassing losses on their turf, costing them a chance at home-court advantage throughout the playoffs.

“I would say one difference is this year we’ve been able to pull out the close ones at home, and last year we were not,’’ Rivers said. “We gave away some leads where we’ve hung on to win the games, and we’ve actually climbed back into games that we probably should have lost, and won them.’’

Julian Benbow can be reached at

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