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Celtics Notebook

West gets closer to a return

By Julian Benbow
Globe Staff / March 14, 2011

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Delonte West’s season has been a series of starts and stops, with a suspension and then injuries keeping him off the floor for all but eight games. But West plans to return to the floor Wednesday against Indiana, his sprained ankle healed, and he wants to get as much as he can out of what little season remains.

West has missed six straight games with a sprained right ankle he suffered during a walkthrough while the team was on its West Coast trip late last month. He had just returned from a broken right wrist that cost him 39 games in the first half of the season.

The ankle injury nagged him more mentally than physically, adding to a frustrating season in which he was supposed to bounce back from a troublesome 2009-10 campaign and be the floor general of the Celtics’ second unit.

“I can’t believe I’m still out this long because of it,’’ West said before last night’s 87-56 win over the Bucks at the Garden. “But it’s been a long season in that regard. So I’m pretty even keel right now.’’

He tested the ankle out yesterday for the first time since spraining it, saying that while he could jump and move freely, there still were difficulties.

“Still doing everything gingerly,’’ West said. “Looks can be deceiving. I’m taking shots, but I’m taking a lot of pressure with the opposite leg coming down. But the way it feels, hopefully Wednesday’s a go.’’

The Celtics are integrating new players while waiting on a cast of banged-up players to return, and West said he feels the need to get back quickly.

“It’s not ‘slow’ [or] ‘take your time’ over here,’’ he said. “I’ve taken enough time. It’s been four, five months already. So it’s long overdue. I can’t wait to get this injury bug behind me.’’

He broke the wrist Nov. 24 against the Nets.

“The one blessing about this whole [ankle] thing is I’ve gotten more time to rest the wrist and strengthen it,’’ West said.

West is averaging 6.6 points, 2.3 assists, and 1.9 rebounds a game.

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

Davis back in lineup Glen Davis had been out long enough to forget he was one of the few pieces still left on the Celtics’ second unit.

He returned to the lineup after missing four straight games with a strained left patella tendon, and looked up and realized that Jeff Green, Sasha Pavlovic, Carlos Arroyo, and Troy Murphy were where Nate Robinson, Marquis Daniels, Semih Erden, and Luke Harangody used to be.

“It felt weird a little bit,’’ Davis said. “I didn’t remember nobody on the team. Like Nate? Oh Carlos.’’

Pavlovic gave him the real trouble.

“I can’t even pronounce it,’’ Davis said. “Is it Sasha? That’s bad. I knew his name but I couldn’t pronounce it. So I just didn’t say nothing.’’

Davis didn’t get a chance to practice before making his return. But the Celtics needed him.

“You look at our bench right now, without Baby, we have Murphy and Jeff Green as our backup bigs,’’ Rivers said. “And that’s when we want to go small. So it’s good to have him back.’’

Davis scored 9 points in 18 minutes, getting reps with the still-jelling second unit.

“It was good to have him,’’ said Paul Pierce. “You get a guy back who understands what we are doing out there for the most part. He’s really familiar. We are constantly trying to figure out sets once we sub with the newer guys, so they’re still learning the plays. It was good to have some familiarity in the lineup coming off of the bench.’’

The bench played all the fourth-quarter minutes for the Celtics. Murphy took advantage, scoring 12 points on 5-for-7 shooting after starting his career in Boston 1 for 11.

Arroyo played 25 minutes, dishing out six assists (and turning it over three times).

“That was good,’’ said Rivers. “To me, the silver lining in this game is that we got more minutes from Baby in a row, which was good for him. Troy just needed to see the ball go in the hoop once or twice, and that was good. And Carlos is just starting to run our offense better and better.’’

Wafer a ways away Von Wafer doesn’t expect to return from his strained right calf for at least another two weeks. He’s been out since sustaining the injury in the second quarter of the Celtics’ win over the Warriors March 4.

“Just getting treatment,’’ Wafer said. “Been doing a little bit more each day. I feel good, getting looser and looser every day. Getting better.’’

Since the injury, he said he hasn’t done any basketball-related activities. He was on the court before last night’s game with Kinesio tape on his leg.

“I’ve been staying off of it,’’ Wafer said. “I’m going to try to shoot some free throws tomorrow. That’s all I can do.’’

Julian Benbow can be reached at jbenbow@globe.com.

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