Marquis Daniels has always been injury prone, even before his head struck Gilbert Arenas, his body crumpled to the floor and spinal cord surgery ensued. Daniels has played more than 62 regular-season games just once in his eight-year career. During two seasons with the Celtics, he has played in just 100 out of 164 possible games. He has injured ligaments in his thumb, experienced severe soreness in his wrist, and suffered the aforementioned bruised spinal cord — and that’s just during his time in Boston.
But Daniels believes he should be less injury prone now following the spinal cord surgery. (Green Street — read the whole article, because it’s a good one)
The only difference Daniels notices is the lack of pain. He feels stronger than ever, and he’s confident the injury woes that limited him to just 100 games over his first two seasons in Boston are over. In fact, his doctor told him even the thumb injury he suffered during the 2009-10 season could be traced back to the spinal issue.
“God works in mysterious ways,” he said. “I thank God. I’m here now, and I’m able to complete and still play.”
Oddly, the Celtics need Daniels now more than ever, as Jeff Green‘s season-ending heart surgery requires someone to fill the void left behind Pierce at small forward. And No. 4 is just fine filling that role again.
Said Daniels: “I felt like I had some unfinished business here.”
I don’t need to tell you how badly the Celtics need Daniels now that Jeff Green is out for the entire season. Barring any more free agent acquisitions, an injury to Daniels pushes Sasha Pavlovic into Boston’s only backup small forward spot. If that happens, please excuse me while I submit myself to Chinese water torture, which seems more appealing than watching Pavlovic play hoop for my favorite team.
If Daniels can stay healthy, Boston’s bench could be a plus. Keyon Dooling’s pretty solid. Brandon Bass gets buckets. Chris Wilcox showed more effort in a preseason game than Rasheed Wallace did during his entire tenure in Boston. Avery Bradley’s significantly better suited to play shooting guard, where his defense is still pesky and his lack of confidence running an offense no longer matters. Daniels is a plus defensively, doesn’t make very many mistakes, manufactures easy baskets by utilizing his outstanding ability to cut, and sometimes goes berserk when he sees a mismatch, particularly when he sizes up a smaller defender and his eyes light up with glee. And collectively, despite its lack of perimeter playmakers, the bench crew is filled with role players who know that they’re role players and won’t try to pull up for 27-foot three-pointers even though 22 seconds remain on the shot clock (I’m looking at you, Nate Robinson).
But if Daniels goes down? Well, let’s just hope the confidence these doctors have in Daniels’ health is well-founded. Otherwise, Pavlovic*. I don’t like that the Celtics rely so heavily on the health of an already injury-prone player returning from spinal cord surgery. But I’m rooting for Daniels, of course.
*said with more than a touch of disgust