Making his first extended road trip since breaking his right (non-shooting) wrist in November, Delonte West prepared as if he would play today even though he won't likely return until the Celtics return to Boston.
In the past few weeks, West has progressed quickly, shooting with his right wrist braced, getting the brace removed, doing some light catching and dribbling last week and now absorbing harder passes this week. He said he has an appointment scheduled immediate after this four-game trip to determine the next step and possibly clear him to practice.
For now, he thought it was in his best interests to travel with the team.
"With me trying to return shortly, itís very important that I get a lot of time with the team," West said. "Really getting in the huddles and picking up on the flow of whatís going on out there. Itís not the same watching from home. Youíve got to be there. Iím making sure that Iím not slacking behind when I get back. Iím not missing out on anything. This is where the teamís at. This is where the coaches are at. This is where Iím at."
Knowing West was within weeks of returning to the court, Rivers wanted West to travel with the team.
"Whenever a guy gets close, we want him to be around because we may change a play, we may do something," Rivers said. "When theyíre a long way away, we tell them they can go to the Bahamas if they want, but once they get close we want them around the team. Itís good for him and itís good for the team."
The last test for West will be absorbing serious contact with the wrist. The fall he took Nov. 24 against New Jersey was gruesome, and West said he's afraid of falling again.
"If you look at a game, 90 percent of the time, when a player falls he puts his hand down in some kind of way," West said. "So that thought alone gives me nightmares."