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Scal can’t rush back

03.01.09 at 9:37 pm ET
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Life has been put on hold for Brian Scalabrine since suffering what he believes to be his fifth concussion — the third in a matter of weeks — on February 19 against the Utah Jazz.

‘€œYou can’€™t do anything,’€ he said prior to Sunday’€™s game against the Detroit Pistons. ‘€œYou can’€™t watch TV for more than like 30 minutes, can’€™t read a book, can’€™t get on the Internet.’€

It’s forced a change in lifestyle for Scal and his family. What does he do now for fun?

‘€œLike what we did back in the day, we conversate. My wife’€™s getting tired of me talking to her though,’€ he said with a laugh. ‘€œMy daughter, she gets bored after 20 minutes. So like I said, you really can’€™t do anything. You really, really, really can’€™t do anything.’€

Scalabrine was initially diagnosed with a cervical strain in his neck. However he now believes that “99 percent” of his injury was caused by a concussion. He also suffered two concussions in January. After being deemed asymptomatic by doctors, he will undergo an MRI on Monday morning.

“I can’t worry about that until we get to the real deal,” he said. “Am I deep, deep down inside concerned a little bit about it? You know, it’s your career, it’s your life, yeah. But hopefully it all works out and I have no problems.”

Even though concussions are more common in the NFL than the NBA, one player can relate to Scalabrine’s setback. Indiana Pacers guard T.J. Ford has suffered three severe spinal injuries dating back to the 2005 season. His most recent injury occurred last season — caused by a flagrant foul by the Atlanta Hawks‘ Al Horford — and left him motionless on the court.

Ford bruised the same area of his spinal cord so many times that he eventually has his vertebrae fused together. He understands the importance of properly healing any injury in that part of the body.

“You want to be cautious any time you’re dealing with your neck, head, or spinal injuries because it eventually could affect how the rest of your life is,” Ford said. “So he has to be very cautious. The best thing to do is seek out information and get as much advice as possible about the injury and ways that you can get better so that you can live a good, healthy life and still be able to do the things you love to do.”

As Scalabrine awaits a diagnosis, the Celtics are struggling without him. The loss of Scalabrine, Kevin Garnett (knee), and Tony Allen (thumb) has depleted the Celtics bench, forcing Paul Pierce to play 48 minutes against the Pistons. (RECAP HERE) Glen Davis also aggravated his left foot and walked with a slight limp after the game. Scalabrine is itching to help his team.

“It’s different,” said Scalabrine. “The athlete and the common person, you cannot treat them the same way. Like a common person gets the flu and he’s supposed to relax for two weeks. An athlete, you can’t do it. Like they were talking to me about three months with no activity. I mean, that just doesn’t work for us. Everyone knows this. We have to deal with what it is. And you have to deal with, if you tweak an ankle they tell you take six to eight weeks off, you’ll be fine. Well six to eight weeks for us, that’s two months. You can’t do that. That’s 30 games. I just believe that you have to treat them separately.”

But Scalabrine can’t rush back, says Ford. In fact Scalabrine can’t even read a book at this point in time without the words blending together.

“It’s preparation. It’s preparation, it’s hard work, just building that confidence back,” Ford said. “And I think it starts off the court, just with conditioning yourself while you’re working out so when you get back to this level you’re not thinking twice about it.”

Doctors will determine the timetable for Scalabrine’s return. In the meantime, all he can do is stay optimistic.

“You can’t worry about it one way,” he said. “In my mind, I’m like, I’m not discouraged. I’m like thinking that I’ll be back in a week. That’s what my mind is.”

Read More: Boston Celtics, Brian Scalabrine, Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers
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