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The Boston Herald reports that Glen “Big Baby” Davis has been suspended indefinitely by the Boston Celtics for fracturing his right thumb while he was involved in a fight with a former LSU teammate. In addition to the indefinite suspension, Davis will likely be fined a portion of his salary, due to the non-basketball nature of his injury.
While this suspension is unfortunate, as it weakens an otherwise very strong Celtics bench, it cannot be unexpected. Davis, in short, did a dumb thing. He is a professional athlete who signed a contract that he will represent the Boston Celtics on and off the court and that he will do all that is necessary to protect the company’s assets. As a player for the organization, “Big Baby” is such an asset.
It’s interesting to note that in his report, Danny Ainge referred to Davis by his first name, rather than his nickname. This is a solid way of calling out Glen Davis’s maturity level. He has to recognize that, as a professional organization representing a franchise and a city, he must behave in a mature and respectable fashion. He is, after all, a figure that young people will look up to. By calling him Glen, Ainge is hoping to appeal to Davis’s maturity. It was “Big Baby” who broke his thumb in a fistfight with his friend. However, it is Glen Davis who will pay the price for his actions. It is Glen Davis who was suspended, and it will be Glen Davis who will have to recoup the team for a part of his salary.
Just as we’ve seen with other professional athletes (such as our own Paul Pierce, for instance), sometimes incidents like this are just what the player needs to complete the mental transition necessary to be a professional NBA player.
Glen Davis’ suspension will likely last only as long as he is in recovery from his surgery. As the second reserve forward on the team (behind Rasheed Wallace), the Celtics are unlikely to keep him on the bench unnecessarily. With Wallace’s history of foul trouble, it is likely that there will be times where neither ‘Sheed nor Kevin Garnett will be on the floor. At times like that, the Celtics only other options are Shelden Williams, Bill Walker, and Brian Scalabrine. Davis has more experience that Walker and more skill than either Williams or Scalabrine. This means that while Williams will probably get more playing time now, the Celtics do not want to keep him on the court so long as they have a better option. Thus, as soon as Davis is ready to play basketball again, he probably will.
As unfortunate as this incident is, it shouldn’t negatively affect the Celtics too badly. No clear-thinking player could argue that this punishment was unfair, especially when every player on Celtics has signed a similar contract asking them to behave in a manner that properly represents the Boston Celtics. It is also not as if the Celtics are losing one of their starting five, or even one of their key bench players such as Rasheed Wallace, Eddie House, or Marquis Daniels. Glen Davis is a role-player on the team, and it’s only a moderate role. The Celtics should be able to survive without him, as they showed Wednesday night in Cleveland. But, when he comes back, the Celtics will be that much better.