BOSTON -- Celtics forward Glen "Big Baby" Davis didn't know his comments about wanting to play in the NFL had become such a big story in Boston.
Davis recently told ESPN The Magazine that, after becoming an NBA All-Star, he wanted to give professional football a try, given his gridiron prowess in high school. But informed Friday that the story had taken on a life of its own, Davis made sure to emphasize that basketball is his focus.
"I play basketball. There's a reason why I didn't choose football," Davis said. "[Michael] Jordan just decided to play baseball one day. But I'm here. It's basketball. That's all I'm thinking about right now."
Davis endured some good-natured ribbing from his teammates, most notably Tony Allen, about his gridiron dreams. Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge walked through the locker room while Davis was talking to reporters and playfully shouted, "You're not tough enough to play football."
Davis played two seasons of high school football at the University Laboratory School in Baton Rouge, La., and drew interest from multiple Division I colleges, including LSU, where he ultimately accepted a basketball scholarship.
Injured in an off-court incident two days before the start of the 2009-10 season, Davis is recovering from surgery for a fractured right thumb. He shared some humorous tales about trying to function without the use of his natural writing hand, including the difficulty in getting dressed and signing autographs.
Davis did note that the extra work with his left hand might leave him ambidextrous when he returns to the court -- he's targeted to return to practice Dec. 1 -- and joked he'd be putting up "Rondo-like layups with his left hand" at that point.
Amazed that the NFL comments had become so popular, Davis wondered aloud whether he would get the same reaction had he said he wanted to pursue a career in table tennis. Then he dropped the real bombshell: Neither football nor basketball was his best sport. He grew up a standout baseball player. Maybe he'll give the Red Sox a call after he conquers professional football.
"First base, third base, pitcher; I was a better all-around baseball player than either basketball or football," Davis said.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers said the only injury update Friday was that reserve forward Brian Scalabrine would not play because of back spasms. Scalabrine, who missed the first four games of the regular season with a right ankle injury, played a total of nine minutes in back-to-back road games in Philadelphia and Minnesota this week. Rivers joked, "Back spasms. How, I don't know; we didn't practice yesterday. How you hurt your back on an off day, I don't know."
For the Suns, guard Leandro Barbosa will not play because of a wrist injury. Barbosa is averaging 15.7 points per game in three appearances this season and is a tough loss for Phoenix.
Hill almost a Celtic?
Rivers noted that the Celtics were "very close" to signing veteran Grant Hill in the offseason. Instead, the 15th-year veteran is back with Phoenix and averaging 14 points and a team-best 8.8 rebounds through five games. Those are numbers that rival Hill's productivity when he played for Rivers in Orlando from 2000 to 2004.
"[Hill] just kinda changed his mind, he decided to stay pat," Rivers said. "I think [Steve] Nash had a lot to do with it; they have a great relationship. He knew who they were; in that system, he was more comfortable staying. [When it] really came down to it, he wanted to play a lot of minutes and didn't want to come off the bench here. When we talked, I completely got that; he missed a lot of his career, so I can see that."