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The other side of Leandro Barbosa

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Another great piece from CSNNE's Jessica Camerato. In a revealing interview, Leandro Barbosa talks about his absence from the team in December and being away from his family in Brazil.

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After denying rumors that he requested a trade, LB reaffirmed his commitment to the Celtics yesterday, but in this Camerato introspective, he talks about playing with a heavy heart this year as he deals with some family issues back home in Brazil:

Leandro Barbosa's private struggles

He missed four games for personal reasons and joined the Celtics in Sacramento against the Kings. Noticeably tired, he played four minutes on December 30. It was easy to assume Barbosa was jet-lagged from the travel. The reality was, the events that occurred during the trip were the most emotionally draining.

"My mother-in-law, she's in a coma," Barbosa told CSNNE.com. "I have to go and try to help, so it's kind of hard. At the same time, I have a job and I have to be here, so I had to come back. The situation is still going on."

Barbosa's mother-on-law needs a kidney transplant to survive. Last month she was placed in a medically-induced coma while doctors attempt to find a donor. Barbosa has been juggling the NBA schedule with a race against time to help his family. They look to him for a source of strength.

It's just another reminder that as the season heats up with playoff positioning in mind and trade rumors run rampant in the press and in blogs and maybe even the locker room, there's a very human element to the game that a lot of us don't see. Best wishes to Leandro Barbosa and his family.