Delonte West May Be Ready to Play for Boston Celtics Sooner than Expected

Mike MehtaContributor IIDecember 7, 2010

Delonte will be a large factor in bringing #18 to Boston this season
Delonte will be a large factor in bringing #18 to Boston this season

It seems like every day there's a new injury report regarding the Celtics.  In just today's practice, Rajon Rondo, Nate Robinson, Shaquille O'Neal, Jermaine O'Neal, and Delonte West (and obviously Perk) were all sidelined due to injury concerns.  Add to that, Glen Davis was out due to sickness.  Nate and Shaq will most likely play in Wednesday night's game against the Denver Nuggets.  However, Rondo is questionable while J.O., Perk, and Delonte will be sidelined for a while.

Today we finally got some good news.  Jermaine O'Neal was seen working out with the coaches, but it's still too early to say when he'll be ready.  Understandably, the Celtics are going to wait till J.O. is 100% before playing him again.  (It may be hard to believe, but Rasheed Wallace much better at this time last year compared to J.O. right now.)  Fortunately for the Celtics, Glen Davis and Semih Erden have stepped right in and provided the team with useful and productive minutes.

Perhaps the most exciting news is that Delonte West is ahead of schedule after broken right wrist surgery only a week ago.  Delonte stated to Celtics Insider A. Sherrod Blakley, "Even though we're six days out of surgery, I'm going to be back a lot quicker than we thought."  When Delonte went out on November 24th against the New Jersey Nets, it was assumed that he's going to miss anywhere between 2-4 months.

With Rondo and Nate Robinson dealing with their own injury issues, Delonte can not return soon enough.  Doc has been forced to play Ray (36.5 minutes/game) and Pierce (34.8 minutes/game) more than he would prefer.  Worst of all, Rondo is top five in the NBA in averaging 39.3 minutes/game (while Ray Allen is in the top 25, and Pierce in the top 50).

On the bright side, Marquis Daniels has proven to be a consistent role player for the Celtics, but the production simply isn't the same.  Avery Bradley has proven that he can play defense adequately, but it will take him a while to run the offense the way Doc likes.

While it is optimistic to expect Delonte to return by the end of December, a more likely timeline is mid-January.  For now, let's just hope the Celtics don't add another body onto the injury list.