Commentary

For Davis, it's thumb's up -- injury and all

The toughest part? Buttoning shirts, tying shoes and signing autographs

Updated: November 8, 2009, 12:59 AM ET
By Chris Forsberg | ESPNBoston.com

It's easy to see why the Celtics want Glen Davis around.

After an embarrassing off-court incident left Davis with a fractured right thumb just two days before the start of the regular season, the Celtics were faced with a decision on how to punish Davis. Ultimately, the team decided to fine instead of suspend him because, as president of basketball operations Danny Ainge noted, "Glen is well-liked by his teammates, and I think the better chance of him coming back and being prepared to play when he's healthy is being with the team."

After a news conference alongside Ainge to offer his formal apologies last week, Davis held a wide-ranging and often-humorous session with reporters before Friday's game against the Phoenix Suns, touching on when he hopes to return to the court, his earlier comments about wanting to play professional football, and the difficulties of having his dominant right hand in a cast.

[+] EnlargeGlen Davis
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty ImagesGlen Davis hopes to get back to Celtics practice on Dec. 1 after fracturing his thumb.

Noting that he's "like Wolverine, a fast healer," Davis said he hopes to return to practice by Dec. 1. At the time of his surgery, the recovery was listed as eight weeks, which would put his on-court return closer to January.

But the injury has done nothing to dampen Big Baby's spirit or wit. It has detoured him from playing video games, so he joked he's been spending more time surfing the Web, including Amazon.com, where he bought a new wristwatch this past week.

Trouble came Friday when he tried to put on that watch without anyone home to help him. Among his other dressing difficulties: buttoning his dress shirts and tying his shoes -- both nearly impossible tasks. But he's too prideful to ask for much help, and Friday's empty house left him with no options.

"It took me almost an hour and a half to get dressed," said Davis. "I couldn't strap my watch on. I was biting and scratching. You realize how important it is to have your thumb."

That's far from his only trouble. Davis joined some teammates on a recent visit to Children's Hospital, where patients eagerly sought his autograph. He had to scribble his signature while gripping the pen with only the four fingers on his right hand.

"If they go to eBay with that, they will not get full value," joked Davis.

But there are benefits. Forced to do everything with his left hand, he feels he's strengthening that arm. He said he might be ambidextrous by the time he's back on the court, and hopes he can put up those smooth left-handed jumpers like locker neighbor Rasheed Wallace, or go with left-handed layups like point guard Rajon Rondo.

While some of that left-arm strengthening comes from working on left-handed hook shots in practice -- one of the few things he can do besides the Stairmaster and running on the treadmill -- most of it comes from playing fetch with his miniature pinscher, Deebo, named after Tiny "Zeus" Lister Jr.'s character in the movie "Friday."

As for the off-court incident, Davis said not too many people have approached him about it. There was one: a 12-year-old boy who wanted an explanation.

"That was hard," said Davis. "I was just like, 'I made a bad decision at a crucial time.'"

Even worse, Davis had to sign an autograph for the boy using the bum hand. Barely able to contain his laughter recalling the sequence Friday, Davis said, "And I had to give him a lousy autograph."

Davis made new headlines this week after telling a reporter for ESPN The Magazine that he wanted to give professional football a whirl after he became an NBA All-Star. While Davis downplayed the comments Friday, his teammates enjoyed some good-natured ribbing at his expense. When Ainge walked through the locker room and spotted Davis talking to reporters, he yelled, "You're not tough enough to play football. Maybe wide receiver."

Davis was surprised by how his comments had garnered national attention and stressed that basketball has always been his true love and focus.

"What if I said I wanted to go play professional badminton in China?" asked Davis. "Maybe that's what I'll do."

When the focus shifted back to basketball, Davis said it's been terribly difficult to watch from the sidelines, but thinks it will improve his game having the rare opportunity to enjoy a wider view. He's also not worried about losing his spot in the bench rotation once he's healthy, even as Shelden Williams gets comfortable in the role previously pegged for Davis.

"I'm not worried about the rotation," said Davis. "I'm just going to be there when the team needs me. I'll be in shape and be ready."

Chris Forsberg is a roving reporter for ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter.

Chris Forsberg

Celtics reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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