Bounce-back from fall vs. Warriors symbolizes season for Green

Bounce-back from fall vs. Warriors symbolizes season for Green
March 2, 2013, 2:15 pm
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BOSTON — At the opposite end of the Boston Celtics' bench, Jeff Green was sprawled out underneath the basket.

There was very little movement initially, striking fear in the heart of Celtics Nation that the seemingly infectious disease better know to most as the injury bug, was about to claim yet another member of the Green team.

After teammates and the medical staff rushed to him, they soon dispersed knowing that he was OK.

To the joy of many, Green's injury was nothing more than a sore left elbow.

So after a few tense moments, Green rose to his feet.

And after he re-entered the game, he began to elevate his play which in many ways symbolizes the kind of season this has been for the 6-foot-9 forward.

Following a relatively rocky start to the season, Green has gone from flashes to full-blown portraits of stellar play that has been one of the driving forces behind the Celtics' improved play of late which includes a 94-86 win over Golden State on Friday.

Green is starting to impact the game in multiple ways which is what you expect from a player whose calling card both in college and the pros, has been versatility.

Fans may gravitate towards the 18 points he had off the bench against the Warriors, but he also grabbed five rebounds and had three blocked shots.

To put that latter stat in perspective, the rest of the players for both teams on Friday combined for just three blocked shots (Brandon Bass and Kevin Garnett each had one for Boston; Klay Thompson had one for Golden State).

And while the C's certainly don't want to see Green hit the floor hard with an injury, there was no mistaking how much his play improved after the hard spill to the floor at the 6:13 mark of the third quarter when Green was whistled for an offensive foul.

Green went to the bench momentarily, and returned to score four points in the final 98 seconds of the third. He followed that up by scoring 10 points which was tops among all players, in the fourth.

It was the kind of bounce-back performance that seemed only fitting for a player who has been gradually getting his game back after sitting out all of last season following heart surgery.

That's why there was never any concern or panic on his part following the spill.

"I been through a lot more pain than that," Green told Comcast SportsNet following Boston's 94-86 win. "I was able to bounce back; put a little pad on that (elbow) and I was good to go."

Maybe the most impressive aspect of Green's game following the third quarter fall, was that his aggressiveness was just as strong - if not stronger - when he returned.

Not only does it speak to his role with this team, but says a lot about his confidence level in terms of what his body can take as well as dish out to opponents.

Even with Green playing more consistently, Celtics coach Doc Rivers understands he will still have games in which he won't play well.

There will also be nights like Friday when something unexpected - like being called for an offensive foul while landing hard to the floor - will be just what's needed that night to get him on track.

"He's human. He's not going to play perfect every night," Rivers said. "And you look at his numbers (on Friday) and he's got 18 and 5."