By Jessica Camerato
For most of the Celtics, the NBA season will officially kick off next Tuesday night.
Delonte West, though, will have to wait a little longer.
Before West can take the court, he must serve a 10-game suspension for weapons charges stemming from last year. Now he is determined to use his situation to benefit others.
West hopes to invite a group of deserving children to the teams practice facility in Waltham to watch the Celtics battle the Miami Heat on television.
Maybe award some children that have good grades or kids from troubled situations trying to do the right thing, he said. Its not all negatives about missing games.
For West, its not the number of games that bother him. A player can be sidelined longer than that with a sprained finger, he says. Its the small moments that matter most to him. Given that he cannot be in the TD Garden two hours before game time, he will miss those first small moments of the regular season.
Taking the floor for the first time with the team or just being in that first huddle, to hear what Doc (Rivers) has to say before a game or after a game, those things are very important, he said. That develops chemistry and those things that you miss out on, those are things Im going to miss.
West already missed five of the teams eight preseason games with nagging injuries. After suffering what he thought was back spasms, he learned it was actually pain in his glute muscles. West has not played since October 10 and is looking forward to getting back out there at full strength. He expects to practice this week.
It was kind of preventing me from playing the type of game I like to play -- hard-nosed, get up, and energetic, he said. Those are things I bring to the floor that the spasms were preventing me from doing.
Even though West has been sidelined with injuries (and will be for the first ten games with a suspension) he isnt worried about having chemistry with his teammates when he returns to the floor. He is in his second stint with the Celtics and has transitioned back into the system after being away from the team for three years.
Guys know what each other can do. Were like brothers, he said. Were around each other all day, every day. When youre not on the court, youre still around each other somehow. I dont think 10 games is enough time to really fall out the loop of things.
West notes that he will feel isolated from the teammates, the group of players he badly wants to see succeed, during his suspension.
A lot of things have been thrown my way over the last year so nothing really surprises me, he said. Its going to be tough in the sense that I wont be out there helping my team.
But if Wests vision becomes a reality, he will be able to use this time to help others on Opening Night.