Lots of news coming out of Waltham today as the C’s had a lengthy two hour practice before they make the trek to Detroit tomorrow afternoon for Tuesday night’s contest.
We start with Delonte West though who addressed his fight with Von Wafer for the first time with reporters. West, unlike Wafer was fairly forthcoming about the incident, acknowledging it happened and addressing the false allegations made in the initial Hoopsworld report. A couple bullet points from the interview:
* On The Fight: “I’m competitive, he’s competitive, as long as it’s for the betterment of the team, there’s nothing wrong with healthy competition and pushing each other to get better. Things went a little far, but at the same time, we were able to move past that, we’re professionals.”
* How he’s feeling despite suspension? “I try to take the positives out of everything, very rarely due guys play a full season with injuries these days. You could have a sprained ankle and miss 10 games. I’m not missing much, I’m here for drills, practice, etc. It’s still not a game time situation though, I miss that. I’m counting down the games.”
*On His Back Injury: “It feels 100 percent, the time off really helped as well as the treatment. It really stemmed a lot from overuse, overworking it.”
On The Hoopsworld Report: “I read reports and some stuff from it was taken out of context. Certain parts of it was not true. Guys get into scuffles, or whatever you want to call them.”
Getting Past The Fight: “At the end of the day, we are like brothers, and had a big laugh about it in the locker room today thanks to Shaq and KG. Now, it’s about trying to win, move on and focus on the next Championship. I want to do everything I can for this team, I don’t want to let these guys down. We’re focused on the next game, the next challenge.”
All in all, really telling stuff from Delonte today. People have beaten up on Von Wafer the past couple days based on the way he addressed the situation on Friday. Before Delonte spoke, I didn’t really blame Von for playing dumb about the whole situation since it appeared the C’s may have put some sort of gag order on Wafer (for understandable reasons) about the entire situation.
A gag order though was clearly not the case today with West. He spoke candidly, was honest, even joked about being “too competitive” sometimes, a clear shot at himself for the entire situation. Delonte clearly has had his issues but as he indicates, while by no means was he innocent in this situation, some reports made him look out to be much worse than the situation went down.
The fact of the matter is, this entire ordeal appears to be a blip on the radar for this team. If this story had not gotten public, it’s doubtful the team would have even been affected at all.
That being said, Delonte dealt with the situation much better than Von after the fact. This may not be entirely Von’s fault since he may still have very well had a gag order on him since the story leak likely came out of his camp, and was potentially already in the team’s doghouse for the way he dealt with the situation. Purely speculative on my part but that’s the vibe I felt after hearing from both sides on the issue.
The good news? It looks like everyone is ready to move past this. Much more on practice from Waltham later today, but for now a couple other quick highlights.
* Shaquille O’Neal did not practice today and will not tomorrow. He looks doubtful to play on Tuesday
*Jermaine O’Neal did practice (with the 2nd team) and is “likely’ according to Doc to start on Tuesday.He also had a really good practice
* Semih Erden practiced with the first team and could see some minutes Tuesday night if Shaq can’t go, though Doc was tentative to commit to that possibility since he’s still not sure if Semih is ready.
Much more to come from practice later this afternoon…..