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Key bench contributor Marquis Daniels will miss 6-8 weeks after undergoing surgery to repair his injured left thumb. The injuries to Daniels’ thumb and also his left wrist, which were re-aggravated during a recent practice, had been nagging him throughout the team’s recent four-game road trip.
Despite the injury to one of their key bench players, the Celtics managed to defeat the Heat, Bobcats, Spurs, and Thunder on their home courts. Surprisingly, Daniels’ numbers during the four-game trip ( averages of 18.3 minutes, 3.3 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists) were only minimally affected by the injury. Overall for the season in 20.4 minutes per game, Daniels averages 5.7 points, 2 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game.
Daniels showed tremendous toughness in playing through the injury, but was shown a seat on the bench when he failed to catch a hard pass from Rajon Rondo during practice on Sunday. The pass deflected off of Daniels’ left hand, which swelled enough for the Boston coaching staff to rule him out for Tuesday’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks.
“Nolan Ryan Rondo threw the ball in practice, I tried to catch it, and it just hit my thumb wrong and swelled up a little more,” said Daniels, who said he may undergo an MRI today. “I had to sit down and rest it a little bit. I don’t remember how it happened. I just noticed that it’s been swelling the last couple of days. I wanted to keep playing, but Doc thought it would be best if I sat out and let it heal up.”
With Tony Allen returning to the lineup, now seems to be as good a time as any for Daniels to take some time off to let his injured wrist and thumb heal. Allen only played six minutes in Tuesday night’s 98-89 victory over the Bucks, but figures to see a gradual increase in playing time as he continues to work his way back to full strength from a torn ACL injury sustained back in 2007.
Daniels and the Celtics also realize there are a lot of games left to be played, and the most important games of the season still lay ahead. I think Doc Rivers and the Celtics training staff made the right decision with Daniels. Giving Daniels a chance to heal will, barring further injuries, will provide the Celtics with the firepower they need on the homestretch during the months of March and April.
It’s worked so far, as the Celtics are 1-0 without Daniels in the lineup. It will be up to Rasheed Wallace, Eddie House, Brian Scalabrine, and Sheldon Williams to pick up the slack in the interim.
The Celtics have some very winnable games coming up against the Washington Wizards, Chicago Bulls, and Memphis Grizzlies. I expect the Celtics to take their win streak through the weekend. These are all games they can win without Daniels, and if they lose any of these three games, it probably won’t be because Daniels isn’t in the lineup.
Even so, the Celtics will miss a healthy Daniels when they lock horns with some of the NBA’s elite in a couple of weeks. The streaking C’s travel to Orlando on Christmas, and take on Phoenix on Dec. 30.