THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING

Davis shelved 8 weeks by thumb surgery

By Gary Washburn
Globe Staff / October 28, 2009

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CLEVELAND - An argument with a childhood friend over an interaction with his girlfriend has shelved Glen “Big Baby’’ Davis for two months, angered team officials, and hindered the Celtics’ depth as they begin the season.

Davis, 23, was involved in a fistfight with his friend Shawn Bridgewater early Monday morning in Waltham. Bridgewater admitted to police that he threw the first punch, and Davis responded with a punch, fracturing his right thumb. The injury required surgery yesterday that will sideline him eight weeks.

Celtics president Danny Ainge announced that Davis was suspended indefinitely, although he won’t be healthy enough to play until December at the earliest.

Club officials privately are furious with Davis for getting into an altercation.

According to detective William Stanton of the Waltham Police, Bridgewater and Davis began arguing after an evening out with their girlfriends. Bridgewater, a former high school teammate of Davis who was visiting from Louisiana, punched Davis while their car was in motion.

They pulled over on Lincoln Street, near Davis’s Waltham home, and the confrontation escalated, leading to more punches. That’s when an unidentified person called 911 and reported a possible domestic incident.

Waltham Police responded, but there were no arrests. Bridgewater and his girlfriend drove to Davis’s home while Davis and his girlfriend walked the short distance.

Davis sat out practice Monday and an MRI revealed a fractured thumb.

“We’re disappointed,’’ Ainge said. “We wish we had him here tonight. It’s not using good judgment. It’s just that simple. It’s unfortunate.’’

When asked about Davis, Celtics coach Doc Rivers grunted, attempting to camouflage his disdain. He said he talked with Davis Monday and chided him after hearing the circumstances of the injury.

“That’s a private conversation. It wasn’t jovial, I can tell you that,’’ Rivers said. “But it was an honest one.

“I’ll make this point: Baby is not a bad person. He made a bad mistake and he made a bad judgment and unfortunately it only takes one second, five seconds to make a mistake and then you have to live with it at times. And right now he has to live with that mistake. He has some ways to grow and we want to help him do that.’’

In a statement released by the team yesterday, Davis said, “I would first like to apologize to my fans, teammates, coaches, and the entire Celtics organization. I am extremely disappointed that this incident occurred and that it will prevent me from starting the season with the rest of my teammates. My teammates and the entire Celtics organization are extremely important to me and I will do my best to expedite the healing process and be back on the court as soon as possible.’’

But it’s apparent that Davis will have to get himself back into the good graces of the organization before being welcomed back.

“He needs to get himself healthy and ready to play; there’s nothing we can do now,’’ Ainge said. “He will apologize. We can be frustrated and angry, and he has to get on with his life and get ready to play.’’

“He’s growing, he’s maturing,’’ Rivers said. “Obviously he has some ways to go, but we want to help him do that. I really feel that’s part of my job as a coach to help him become a better person.’’

On the court, the Celtics will use Shelden Williams in Davis’s spot and likely will have to increase the minutes of Kevin Garnett and Rasheed Wallace, something Rivers said he wanted to avoid. The Celtics had four players unavailable last night, including Tony Allen and Brian Scalabrine.

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