Daniels was brought in over the summer of 2009 to be a key member of Doc Rivers' second unit. He ended up spending more time on the trainer's table than the basketball court.
He finally got healthy toward the end of the 2009-10 season, and the hope was he'd be a lockdown defender in the playoffs against LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. Didn't happen.
Then all was well for the first three months of this season, until Daniels suffered a freak spinal cord injury and was never seen on the TD Garden floor again.
A chain reaction went off. Daniels' doctors, seriously worried about his long-term health, shut the 30-year-old swingman down indefinitely. The Celtics, seriously worried about their depth at the wing positions, freaked out and traded Kendrick Perkins to Oklahoma City, hoping Jeff Green could be the answer. The people of Boston, seriously worried about their chances of ever seeing another championship parade, are all one more bad loss away from jumping off the Tobin Bridge.
Daniels was the guy who set everything off. If not for him, Kendrick Perkins might still be here, and the Celtics might be closing in on the best record in the NBA at this very moment.
So naturally, there's some resentment there for Daniels, who was traded to Sacramento on Feb. 24 for a second-round pick in the 2017 draft.
But that resentment is only skin-deep. And it's probably best that we all put it on hold for a while.
Daniels tweeted this week that he was going under the knife Wednesday for surgery to repair the spinal cord. Forget about his basketball career for a moment — this is an operation that could ensure his long-term physical stability. That's what's really important.
Daniels is no longer a Celtic. He's not really a King, either — he's yet to play a game or even suit up in practice for his new team. But he's a human being facing serious trouble, and he deserves our compassion.
If you were in the building on Super Bowl Sunday to witness Daniels' injury last month – if you saw him collide with Orlando's Gilbert Arenas, saw him snap to the ground in agony and sat through the many minutes of silence that followed — you probably understand the gravity of this situation. You know that this transcends basketball.
It transcends Boston, too. Doesn't matter where you are — Dallas, Indianapolis, Boston, Sacramento or Neptune, wherever you may be, keep Marquis Daniels in your thoughts. Here's hoping he gets well soon.
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