Barbosa still thinks highly of time in Boston

Barbosa still thinks highly of time in Boston
March 14, 2014, 7:15 pm
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(AP Photo)

BOSTON — Coming off a torn ACL injury, 31-year-old Leandro Barbosa wasn't sure if the phone would ever ring again from an NBA team.

So when Ryan McDonough called, Barbosa was naturally excited.

An assistant GM with the Celtics when Barbosa played for Boston, Barbosa immediately began to think about how cool it would be to be a Green Teamer again.

"It was unbelievable, a good experience for me," Barbosa told of his time in Boston.

But there was one problem.

McDonough was now the General Manager of the Phoenix Suns.

"I didn't know that until I got the call," Barbosa told "So when I got the call, I was surprised. I thought Boston was interested myself. But then he (McDonough) explain it to me. 'Oh, you're in Phoenix?' I was happy either way, just to get the opportunity to go back to the NBA."

Unfortunately, Barbosa (left hand) suffered a season-ending injury for the second year in a row. While in Boston last season, he suffered a season-ending torn ACL injury within weeks of Rajon Rondo's season ending due to a similar injury.

"It happens," Barbosa, seemingly always jovial, said about his broken hand. "You have to be patient, do what the doctors say for you to do."

And while he certainly credits McDonough for giving him an opportunity to play in Phoenix, he also had extremely high praise for the Celtics' medical staff led by Dr. Brian McKeon, in the handling of his torn ACL injury.

"What he did on my knee, I don't think anybody could do it," Barbosa said. "The way he did the surgery ... that just made my recovery quicker."

Barbosa did his rehabilitation in Brazil which helped with the recovery, but probably hurt him in terms of his chances of re-signing with the Celtics.

"Me and Danny (Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations) talk before I leave to go back to Brazil to recover," Barbosa said. "He said he would love for me to come back, but I understand how it is the situation, when you tear your ACL.

Barbosa added, "you go back to Brazil, no one sees what you're doing. I knew it was going to be hard (coming back)."

Playing for the Suns this season, the team that acquired him on draft night after the San Antonio Spurs selected in the first round of the 2003 NBA draft, Barbosa averaged 7.5 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.6 assists while appearing in 20 games.

And as much as he enjoys what the Suns organization has done for helping revive his career, Boston remains a special place to him. Barbosa spoke fondly of playing with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, in addition to having a chance to be coached by Doc Rivers, now with the Los Angeles Clippers.

"Doc didn't play me very much but I was excited to be here," Barbosa said. "Being around those players, it was something special for me. And it wasn't just the players. It was the organization, the people that work with you ... all the little things. It becomes special. I was really happy over here. It was great for me."