CLEVELAND -- That sound you heard was Kevin Garnett's head exploding upon hearing the news that Glen "Big Baby" Davis put himself on the shelf for 6-8 weeks with a thumb injury incurred in a fight with a friend.
All together now ... with friends like that ...
Davis underwent surgery in Boston Tuesday to repair the damage -- to his thumb, but not to the Celtics. In a Yahoo! Sports story in which Davis explains that he hurt himself retaliating after the driver of a moving car Davis was riding in slugged him early Sunday morning, Davis mentioned that he received concerned text messages from teammates Eddie House, Rasheed Wallace, Tony Allen and J.R. Giddens. No mention of Garnett, who probably let out so many four-letter words upon hearing the news that the late, great George Carlin lost his train of thought in the middle of a heavenly standup routine.
UPDATE: "I'm supportive of Baby, but very disappointed, obviously," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said Tuesday night, addressing the issue publicly for the first time before Boston's opener against the Cavs. "It just puts everybody in a bad way. ... When we got the results back, we were hoping that it was going to be a bad lesson, but not a lesson that was going to hurt our team as well. It turned out to be both."
Rivers said he's spent very little time in organizational meetings surrounding the team's plans to suspend Davis. The basis for it would be that he suffered a non-basketball injury, which is grounds for a suspension without pay.
Of more concern for Rivers is who gets Davis' minutes. He's hopeful that Shelden Williams -- who was marveling at the fact that he hasn't played on national TV since he was at Duke -- would be able to step in on the fly. A contribution from Williams would limit the worst-case scenario -- overextending Garnett or Wallace this early in the season.
"The one thing we didn’t want to do early in the year is to extend minutes to Kevin or Rasheed," Rivers said. "And that’s where, if this injury did anything, it may throw some of those plans out a little bit. We may have to lean on some other guys to just burn some minutes for us."
There are holes in Davis' story, important details to be filled in -- as usually is the case when an athlete gets involved in something this stupid. Those details could become the concern of an arbitrator, as the Celtics are considering suspending Davis to recoup some of the two-year, $6.3 million contract they signed him to this past summer.
All of this went down in the precious hours before the Celtics tip off the 2009-10 season Tuesday night in Cleveland against LeBron James, Shaquille O'Neal, and the Cavaliers. Delonte West should be the one texting Big Baby, to thank him for the headlines.
"I’ll make this point: Baby’s not a bad person," Rivers said. "He made a bad mistake and he made a bad judgment. Unfortunately, it only takes one second or five seconds to make a mistake and then you have to live with it at times. Right now he has to live with that mistake. But he's not a bad kid. He’s growing, he’s maturing. Obviously, he’s got a ways to go."
The short-term loss of Davis isn't as much of a loss for the Celtics as it would've been had they not added Wallace as a free agent this past summer. The Celtics will still win 60-plus games and be the favorites entering the postseason. But it only underscores how elite teams in any sport are always one senseless escapade away from having their championship hopes dashed. If I were Big Baby, I'd use some of my down time to read my contract, as well as the collective bargaining agreement language on "non-basketball injuries." Then, I'd call Monta Ellis and ask how all that worked out for him. (Hint: Ellis was suspended 30 games without pay, which seems like a good starting point for the discussion on Davis' punishment.)