By Jessica Camerato
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.