Wilcox 'not ready, not comfortable' enough to return yet

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Wilcox 'not ready, not comfortable' enough to return yet

BOSTON -- Chris Wilcox has waited long enough.

The Boston Celtics big man underwent season-ending heart surgery in March and watched his teammates fight for a title from courtside seats.

After months of rehab, he re-signed with the Celtics this summer and was poised to make his comeback. However, his return has been delayed due to back spasms.

"I'm not ready, I'm not comfortable right now," he said prior to Tuesday's preseason game against the Brooklyn Nets. "When my strength and my conditioning get where they need to be, then I'm going to get back out there. I don't want to go back out there too early and then sit out again. I want to make sure this time when I come back, I'm ready."

Wilcox's comeback will be a process. He is currently able to exercise on the treadmill, do light lifting, and recently returned to basketball activities. He also receives a bevy of treatments, from stim to heat packs, stretching to massages.

"You name it, I'm getting it," he said.

Wilcox underwent an MRI following the Celtics return from Europe, but cannot undergo any more at this time because his body was exposed to radiation with previous tests for his heart.

While his patience will pay off in the long run, it is challenging for him to continue playing the waiting game. He has not suited up since March 7. Now he joins his teammates on the bench, knowing he will not be able to step on to the court just yet.

"The hardest part right now is just sitting out watching," said Wilcox, continuing, "The main thing is just being around the game, being around the guys is like motivation to just keep me going. It's tough when I'm not around and I don't see it, then I have to see it on TV.

"It's better just to be around the guys because it kind of keeps my mind off of just sitting around and things like that. But it's definitely tough for me. I want to be out there. I think I've been watching long enough."

Lowe: Wouldn't be shocked if C's move Bradley

Lowe: Wouldn't be shocked if C's move Bradley

Zach Lowe’s most recent podcast is worth a listen, as it features plenty of talk about what the Celtics may or may not due ahead of Thursday’s trade deadline. 

Lowe brought up the possibility of the Celtics top-1 or top-2-protecting Brooklyn’s first-round pick and including it in a deal for Butler. He surmises that the inclusion of the Brooklyn pick -- protected or not -- might not come until the final minutes. 

“Look, if Butler gets traded or if Paul George gets traded, that’s when it’s going to happen,” Marc Stein responded. “It’s going to happen in the last five to 10 minutes, so Boston has to make a decision, and let's see if they’re doing the math that they’ve had these assets for a while and it is time to do something bold and the time is now. Really, I think Boston will do it. The question is what will Chicago or Indiana do? And those are two hard reads.” 

Stein spoke to the Celtics’ lack of activity at certain points, but he said that if the C’s do fail to come away with a star player Thursday, it won’t be for lack of aggressiveness. 

MORE TRADE TALK

“I think the Celtics are taking criticism for waiting, and they’ve had all these assets they haven’t moved yet, but I think the record shows that Danny Ainge in general, in total, is very aggressive, not afraid to roll the dice, not afraid to make the aggressive move,” Stein said. “So I have less doubt about Boston saying, ‘Let’s just do it.’ I have far more questions about what Chicago and/or Indiana would do.” 

Lowe said that he imagines the Bulls would “think about” trading the C's Butler if Boston threw in the Nets’ pick unprotected, but added that Chicago would demand to also take two players out of Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown. 

“I think that will be the offer and they’ll get there and Chicago will either have a moment where they say, ‘We walk away or we’ll do it.’ And Boston’s not going to throw in the other Nets pick,” Lowe said. “That’s just not going to happen.”

Rating the aforementioned foursome in terms of trade value, Lowe said that Crowder is the best piece because of his “ridiculously good” contract, followed by Brown, Smart and Bradley. 

Lowe added that he considers Bradley one of the “sneaky interesting pieces at this trade deadline” because his contract is up after next season, which is the same time that Isaiah Thomas’ contract expires. Lowe says that given the uncertainty of his future in Boston, he wouldn’t be overly surprised if Bradley is moved at the deadline. 

Report: Ainge wouldn't trade Nets pick for Butler, but would for George

Report: Ainge wouldn't trade Nets pick for Butler, but would for George

Will the Celtics part with the right to Brooklyn’s 2017 first-round pick in order to get a star before Thursday’s trade deadline? 

MORE TRADE TALK

Citing a pair of NBA executives, Frank Isola of the New York Daily News wrote this week that Danny Ainge’s willingness to trade the pick should be in doubt.

Sola named Chicago’s Jimmy Butler and Paul George as potential targets, adding that the C’s might include the latter.   

Wrote Isola: 

Two executives doubt that Ainge, who historically plays it close to the vest, would give up the Nets pick in a deal for Butler. However, Ainge might consider it in a trade for George, the Pacers-free agent-to-be who has expressed doubts over re-signing with the Pacers.

‘With Danny, no one ever knows what he might do,' said the executive. ‘He's one of the best. If he thinks he can make a run at the Cavs this season, considering all the injuries Cleveland has had, I can see him making a move.

‘Everyone is talking about Butler to Boston but Danny and Larry Bird go way back. Paul George could be the sleeper.’

This season, the 26-year-old George is averaging 22.3 points 6.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists a game.