By A. Sherrod Blakely
BOSTON The Celtics had every reason to fear the worst.
Marquis Daniels, who has a history of back problems dating back to as recently as nine months ago, was motionless on the floor near the Celtics bench after colliding with Gilbert Arenas' shoulder while attempting to drive to the basket.
While there are still tests to be run and examinations to be made, the initial prognosis was about as encouraging as the Celtics could have imagined.
Daniels has a bruised spinal cord that will keep him out of action for a while. As of now, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge is hopeful Daniels can return to action in a month or two.
Daniels suffered a similar injury last season in the playoffs against the Magic.
Team physician Dr. Brian McKeon said Sunday's injury is related to the previous one.
"We're getting all the tests now and we'll have more information for you Monday," McKeon said. "We'll get CT Scans, MRIs and then Serial examinations."
While the Garden faithful sat in shock as Daniels went down and didn't move, Celtics coach Doc Rivers knew it was serious as soon as Daniels hit the floor.
"It was no doubt," Rivers said. "Right when he went down I was already on the floor. Arenas or someone was standing near him and I just told him, 'Don't touch him.' Because I . . . you could see it was not good."
Ainge visited Daniels at New England Baptist hospital shortly after he was transported there after being carted off the Garden floor - he gave the fans a thumbs up on his way out.
The biggest fear when a player suffers the kind of injury that Daniels did is the potential for paralysis.
While there was some initial tingling sensations, Daniels had regained all movement of his extremities by the time Ainge saw him.
"I think he was scared when he was out on the court because he couldn't really move there for a short period of time so that scared him," Ainge said. "But he's had some issues with this before and some tingling in his body and his arms and things before so I think he wasn't scared, he was fine. He had it last year against Orlando in Game Five and I'm not sure before that. He's had a couple of episodes throughout his career."
It wasn't just the Celtics players affected by Daniels' injury.
Daniels grew up in Edgewater, Fla., which is just outside of Orlando.
In the offseason, Daniels spends time with a number of Magic players, including Dwight Howard, who acknowledged after the game how difficult it was for him to keep playing after Daniels' injury.
"It was sad to see somebody I know down on the ground like that," Howard said. "I just hope he's OK."
Howard added, "I was hurting the whole game, just thinking about him on the ground; his family, friends watching. I know it's something that nobody wants to see; especially when it's somebody you know."
Orlando's Hedo Turkoglu added, "I'm just praying that it's nothing serious. I just pray to God that he's OK."