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Delonte West: ‘I would love to be out there’

Delonte West [1] reached a significant milestone in his comeback from a broken wrist on Wednesday when he went through a full-contact practice with his injury-ravaged teammates. The Celtics [2] needed him because they were down to just nine other players with Semih Erden and Shaquille O’Neal [3] unavailable and Paul Pierce [4] home sick.

Pierce is expected to play against the Lakers on Thursday, while Erden (groin) and O’Neal (Achilles) are not. West would like to be out there as well, but he also knows that he’s not ready yet.

“I definitely surprised myself,” West said. “I was able to go full contact. I got down there scrapping around with the big guys a little bit.” At the same time West acknowledged, “My conditioning wasn’€™t there. My timing was all off. I would love to go tomorrow. I feel confident. I expressed that to the trainers. But I think they want to stick to the plan.”

The plan is for him to return after the All-Star break when the Celtics head out on another west coast trip. Asked if it was tempting to bring West back sooner with Marquis Daniels [5] out indefinitely, Doc Rivers [6] said, “No, not for me. Obviously we’€™d love to have him [Thursday] but it’€™s not tempting for me.”

Still, West hinted that he may try to sneak in a game before the break. The Celtics play the Heat on Sunday and the Nets [7] next Wednesday before the All-Star break next weekend.

When he does return, West won’t be operating at full strength and he won’t be fully recovered until the summer. He pegged his health at 85 percent, but that won’t keep him off the court. “I was told that I won’€™t be 100 percent for at least six months,” West said. “I still can’€™t rotate my wrist all the way around, there’€™s still a lot of pain in there.”

West said that he would wear some protection on his wrist when he does return, and as an added measure, he’s been studying martial arts for tips on transferring body mass when he does fall. “I’€™m not trying to make a joke here,” West said. “I’€™ve been studying kung fu. No, seriously. Guys that fall for a living.”