The Celtics may be without Glen Davis for the next couple of months, but that which doesn't kill the C's third-year forward should only make him stronger. How's that for a silver lining?
Don't call him Big Baby anymore. Davis, who broke his thumb in an altercation with a childhood friend a week ago Sunday, has learned from his mistakes. He's going to come back as a stronger, wiser basketball player, mature beyond his 23 years. He may be big, but he's not a kid anymore.
Davis worked hard to get to where he was before Oct. 25. He earned every penny of the two-year, $6.5 million contract extension he signed this August, and he put all his energy into proving he could live up to expectations. He didn't come this far to flush it all away with one dumb mistake.
"When this happened, it was tough thinking about all the hard work I put in," Davis told the Boston Herald this weekend. "And it just made me realize that … I?m not where I need to be. I?m not where I need to be as a professional, because professionals make the right decisions at crucial moments, and at that time I didn?t."
Sounds like a man with the will to improve. Not a baby at all.
"I have a lot of work to do in order to be the player that I need to be and also the man I need to be," Davis told the Herald. "I?m just happy the Celtics and the team and the fans are willing to let me be that man."
The Celtics are doing just fine without Davis. They've got Rasheed Wallace and the surprisingly strong Shelden Williams holding down the fort. Both have come off the bench and done a fine job spelling starting forwards Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce.
But no doubt, the Celtics will be a better team when Davis returns. Especially if he returns as a better player.
On Monday, the Boston Herald's Steve Bulpett reported that Davis has been working out with the team while he recovers from his injury. His right thumb is broken, yes — but Davis has been working with his left hand as he attempts to build his versatility offensively.
"I?m on the sideline, so I have to keep myself focused and positive and try to make the best out of the situation," Davis told Bulpett. "And I?ve got a left hand, so to be able to work that while I?m out will help me when I get back."
He's just working on the little things, but if he keeps at it, the little things could take him a long way.
"A jump hook, a runner with the left hand — just using the left hand in general kind of throws off your opponent," Davis said. "Hopefully on the scouting reports other teams use, they?ll be saying I can go right and left. … It hasn?t been bad. It?s been pretty good. You know, I can go left. But now when I?m using it more, it feels even better."
That's the spirit. Nothing's changed with Davis — he still shows a penchant for self-improvement that few other NBA youngsters can match.
In his rookie season, he improved tremendously on defense, contesting shots against bigger power forwards and crashing the defensive glass relentlessly. A year later, he expanded his game offensively, adding range to his jump shot and becoming a greater threat from all areas of the floor.
Now, we've discovered a new dimension to Glen Davis — even from the disabled list, the man's working on his game.