Daniels shrugs off thumb injury

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Daniels shrugs off thumb injury

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com

BOSTON - The thought crossed his mind as soon as he felt the pain.

Marquis Daniels had been in this situation before, and last time it cost him nearly half a season.

I was like, Not again, he said.

Daniels jammed his right thumb after attempting to catch a pass from Nate Robinson on Wednesday night against the Denver Nuggets. He felt his thumb get pulled back by a defender, and then watched his hand swell up.

Nate threw me a bad pass, Daniels joked loud enough for Robinson to overhear.

I did, I did. I admit it, Robinson laughed back. But he shouldve caught it.

Joking? About an injury?

Daniels is shrugging this one off. After undergoing surgery to repair torn ligaments in his left thumb last season, he isnt going to let a little sprain or jam - as he put it - hold him back.

Especially when staying healthy is so critical to his game.

For me, its very important because thats all I keep stressing all year, my health and staying healthy, he said. If I can stay healthy, I think the rest will take care of itself.

Daniels is a different player when he is playing fully healed. Last season he looked inconsistent and struggled to find his rhythm. This season, though, he has been the versatile swingman the Celtics need off the bench.

When players went down with injuries, Doc Rivers could turn to Daniels to step in. He gave the Celtics a major spark when Delonte West suffered a fractured wrist by contributing to nearly every category on the stat sheet.

"I thought he really changed the game," Paul Pierce said of Daniels after their November 24 win over the New Jersey Nets. "I thought his length really bothered the point guards. In the pick-and-roll, he was able to get over and under, switch it up, just showing his versatility, some of the things that he can do when he gets in the game."

And when hes healthy.

Im much more aggressive, Daniels said. I dont think about anything. I just go out there and just play the game, let everything just come to me. I get in passing lanes, deflect the ball, use my hands a lot more. Last year my thumb, I was thinking about it a lot, but Im ok now.

Daniels planned to have his right thumb iced and taped up by Celtics trainer Ed Lacerte. He expects to play in Thursdays game against the Philadelphia 76ers.

It hurt pretty good, but Im alright, though, he said. A little swelling but nothing no ice cant heal.

Follow Jessica Camerato on Twitter at http:www.twitter.comjcameratonba.

Blakely: Celtics not as feared as they were last season

Blakely: Celtics not as feared as they were last season

BOSTON -- On more than one occasion Monday night, the Boston Celtics were a discombobulated bunch with some players thinking they were running one play, while others were thinking the play called was something totally different.
 
You see that stuff in the preseason and to a certain extent in the regular season for a lot of teams. It is in those moments that we’re reminded that this Boston Celtics team is a work in progress on so many levels.
 
Because of that, we all need to hit the pause button when talking about them as a team inching closer towards Eastern Conference supremacy.
 
After the first month of the season, they have yet to show that they are going to be better than last season’s 48-win ball club.
 
The big problem a year ago was the offense bogging down and for the most part, not making shots. This year, it’s the team’s defense that has let them down on many nights.
 
And with that comes a sobering reminder this crew is good, but at best are maybe top-five in the East.
 
As a team on the rise, beating teams you’re not supposed to has to happen with some semblance of regularity.
 
There were only three teams on the Celtics’ docket this season thus far that they should have been beaten by without there being any argument: Golden State, San Antonio and Cleveland.
 
They were beaten in all three, two of which (Golden State and Cleveland) had final scores that did not indicate the level of dominance they had over the Celtics.
 
The average margin of defeat in the three games was 9.3 points, but two of them (San Antonio and Golden State) were at the TD Garden, which is supposed to be the equalizer for upset-minded teams.
 
But in each game, Boston put up a decent fight only to fail to emerge victorious.
 
The struggles against the upper echelon teams of the NBA has nothing to do with not having a superstar or a great rebounder or any of the kazillion reasons/excuses offered up as to why they’re not better.
 
It’s hunger.
 
It’s effort.
 
It’s about being blinded by the internet clicks that tout them as one of the best teams in the East, and them not seeing the danger that comes with embracing all that patting on the back.
 
It makes you soft.
 
It makes you fat and happy.
 
And maybe most significant, it creates a false sense of arrival before you’ve left the tarmac.
 
That’s where the Boston Celtics are right now: a team that seems to have forgotten why they were the team nobody wanted to play last year.
 
It wasn’t that teams feared playing them. It was the fact that they knew playing the Celtics would be tough, and it would force them to play a lot closer to their full potential than they were used to if they wanted to win.
 
It was because everyone knew that to beat the Celtics, you don’t have a choice but to play hard because you damn well knew they would.
 
Not anymore.
 
They bring that toughness to the game in small doses, like an intra-venous drip full of hope and promise, providing just enough to life to keep their fans optimistic but not nearly enough to kill the noise of their haters and critics.
 
And while the season is still young, the Celtics need to start racking up some quality wins.
 
Right now, their most impressive win is a toss-up between beating Charlotte 104-98 on Oct. 29, or a 94-92 win at Detroit on Nov. 19.
 
Boston plays at Orlando on Wednesday, a team that’s likely to be back in the lottery again. But after that, they travel back to Boston where they’ll host Toronto -- a game that they desperately need to not only to pad their win total but also provide a much-needed boost of energy and confidence going forward.

The Celtics have to find that hunger, that collective desire that we’ve seen in the past which has propelled them to greater heights than we’ve seen thus far.
 
Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Isaiah Thomas, Al Horford… you can go down the roster and the mission for all of them has to be the same: play harder, for longer, and be smarter about it, because this team has too much collective talent to be just three games above .500.
 
At 12-9, Boston is third in the East and trail conference-leading Cleveland by three games for the best record in the conference. But then you look at the teams behind the Celtics and realize that they’re only two games out of having the ninth-best record in the East.
 
It speaks in part to the season still being in its infancy stage. But it’s also telling as to how Boston does not have a huge margin of error when it comes to losing winnable games.
 
And as we’ve seen thus far, the Celtics can play with any team in the NBA and hold their own.
 
But beating them is a totally different narrative that this squad has yet to write.