Celtics guard Delonte West wraps up nine months of house arrest Saturday morning. He only wishes his six-month stint under injury arrest would terminate as well.
West's ailing right ankle, which forced him to miss eight games spanning into March, swelled on him after an intense workout session Thursday and, despite additional treatment, left him hobbled during Friday's loss to the Bobcats.
West misfired on five of his six shots while registering just two points and one assist over 18:11.
"I keep trying to downplay it, I’ve had a sprained ankle before, it normally take 2, 3 days and you're back in action," said West, who has appeared in Boston's last six games after missing 39 contests due to a fractured right wrist. "I've got a chipped bone in [the ankle] and I think I kind of overdid it a little bit in practice [Thursday]. I was going super hard and the ankle swelled back up on me.
"I did two hours this morning of treatment. I didn’t shoot around before the game, just two to three hours of treatment, just to get ready. I said once I step on the court, there is no excuses. I’m still going to play defense, but with my shot, I noticed that it was all in the takeoff and the landing. It was throwing my shot off. That last play I felt like I barely left the ground."
Celtics coach Doc Rivers wanted to keep West in the game because of his energy, but also didn't want to risk his health.
"That was a tough one for me," said Rivers. "I looked at [team trainer] Eddie [Lacerte] and he was [on the fence], so I just didn't want to take the chance. That was on me."
West sat out the final 7:15, but said he plans to be back on the floor when the Celtics visit the Minnesota Timberwolves Sunday night. West might even have a bit of motivation after the Timberwolves traded for him, then promptly waived him this offseason, setting up his return to Boston.
West will actually travel to the D.C. area Saturday morning to end the house arrest process with his legal team, then fly to Minnesota to meet his teammates. Having already missed 57 games this season, he's ready to put the injury bug in his past, even if he has to do it by simply ignoring the pain that has lingered.
"I should be good to go next game," said West. "I said no more excuses. This is going to be the last time you hear about the ankle from me.”
--MORE STRUGGLES FOR SLUMPING KRSTIC--
Asked before Friday's game what improvements he'd like to see from starting center Nenad Krstic, Rivers said, "Just finishing." Krstic proceeded to miss the first four shots he put up against Charlotte and got yanked 5½ minutes in after failing to get back on defense (a similar episode had played out in Wednesday's loss to the Grizzlies).
Krstic finished 2-of-7 shooting for seven points with eight rebounds and a block over 26:16. But he's struggling, mentally, at both ends of the floor.
"He's a pleaser, he wants to do everything well," said Rivers. "But when he got here, he was just playing. It happens all the time -- you see guys join team and they play well right out of the gates. Then all of a sudden, they start getting into the new system, they think they have to know it all.
"I'm not concerned by him, he's going to be fine. It's just going to take some time to unlock his brain again and just start playing basketball naturally. Right now he's trying to please me, he's trying to please the players by trying to be in the right spots at the right time. He's just thinking way too much."
--LAYUP LINE: C'S CAN'T CAPITALIZE; SILAS ON BOSTON'S STRUGGLES--
* The Celtics committed 17 turnovers, which Charlotte turned into a whopping 19 points. The Bobcats committed 17 turnovers of their own, however, so that negated the trouble, right? Wrong. Boston generated a measly four points off turnovers, essentially letting Charlotte off the hook for its sloppiness on the road.
* Charlotte coach Paul Silas offered his take on Boston's struggles since the Kendrick Perkins trade: "Well, they don't seem to be playing with the same focus, it doesn't seem. I guess they took that pretty hard, it seemed. And they haven't gotten out of that yet, that they lost him and I think they will come out of it, there's no question in my mind they will. But to lose games that they've been losing is kind of interesting to me because, normally, they will just run those teams out of here, but it kind of takes time. When things like that happen, and you bring somebody else in, change is difficult, so there was a change and now they've got to get used to it and move on. And I know they will."
Silas admitted it was similar with his own team after dealing away Gerald Wallace.
"Oh, absolutely," said Silas, whose team received three role players and two first-round draft picks from Portland for Wallace in a clear cost-cutting move. "We lost a key player and now you bring in a lot of other players, and you almost have to start over again. They've got to get used to the system, the plays, and so forth and so on. How are you going to play them? I didn't know these guys when they came in, so now I've gotten a good look at them and I kind of know what they do, but still, it's difficult because it was like my third month, and we were going in the right direction, and now a change is made, so when that happens, you just live with it and move on."
* Jeff Green spent much of his floor time at the power forward spot because of Boston's lack of backup big men beyond Glen Davis. With Troy Murphy (sprained right ankle) sidelined, Green found himself under the glass more and he responded with seven points, five rebounds, two assists and a block over a bench-high 25:41.