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Delonte West's Return Could Come Sooner Than Expected

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Delonte West, who fractured his right (and non-shooting) wrist during a fall against the New Jersey Nets on Nov. 24, could return to action sooner than anybody anticipated. (CSNNE)

Following surgery on Nov. 30, the outlook for his return has picked up considerably.

West said the wrist is healing up so well, there won't be any need for it to be placed in a hard cast.

"Just stimulate it with treatments, and I'll be back to working out within the next two weeks," said West, who added that he'll have it in a soft cast when he resumes working out.

While it certainly remains a longshot, it's not totally out of the question that the 6-foot-3 guard could return the court before the end of this month.

Though A. Sherrod Blakely reported West could return by the end of this month, he cautioned it's unlikely. "D.West returning by the end of this month would be great, obviously," Blakely tweeted. "But IMO, his return to the [Celtics] by late-January is more realistic."

Originally, Doc Rivers feared West would miss the entire regular season. West himself called the broken bone the worst of his life, and he's pretty much a broken-bone expert by now -- he's broken eight bones.

The 6'3" guard had been hailed as the missing piece for Boston's bench, but injured himself in only his fifth game this season. He missed the campaign's first ten games due to a suspension, stemming from a gun incident last September. West's return, whenever it occurs, should solidify a bench that has recently shown signs of life (see: yesterday's game against the Nets). The left-handed combo guard offers play-making, shooting and gritty defense. His presence could free Nate Robinson to contribute more for the second unit.

More than anything, the latest news about West's injury is good for West as a person. With West's history of bi-polar disorder and depression, I wondered how he would take missing most of the season. As he said in The Association, "Basketball is my life." 

What would he do after his life was taken away from him for a full season? Would his mental health regress? Would he spiral back down the wrong path? Would he be okay? West's mind seemed in a good place when he was interviewed at Friday's game, but still: with West, you always worry. There's always a concern he might not be alright.

If all goes well, West will return by the end of the month. But whether West's return comes sooner or later, let's hope he maintains the optimistic mentality he recently shared with the Boston Globe:

"You know what? I got right back up and can’t feel sorry for myself,’’ he said. "Feeling sorry for myself, them days are over with. I gotta get back up again. The Lord is trying to get my attention, trying to show me something. He has my undivided attention now. And my eyes are open, seeing what I can do to help out in the community, help out off the court, and wait this out.’’

Even on Friday, when he spoke to the Globe, West had already begun working toward a healthy return.

"That’s what I have to do,’’ he said. "I can’t hang my head and cry about it, it happened. It’s over. It’s on to the next mission.’’