West to Replace Nelson in NBA All-Star Rookie Challenge

Delonte West was planning on a few days off to enjoy his mother's home cooking. Instead, he's headed for Houston next weekend, where he will replace an injured Jameer Nelson on the sophomore team in the 2006 T-Mobile All-Star Rookie Challenge.

Since West was somewhat of a surprise omission from the original sophomore team roster, it's more than appropriate that he will get to make the trip to represent the Celtics in Houston next weekend.

"I am happy to be selected as a reserve, but I felt I should have been there from the get-go," said West.

Doc Rivers was also pleased to see his young point guard recognized by the league.

"That was a nice surprise, getting that call. He deserved it," said Rivers, who added that while West has plenty to learn, he's already helping the team win now. "It's just nice because guys work their butts off and then they get rewarded."

West, entrenched as the Celtics starting point guard, is averaging 11 points per game, along with 4.2 assists and 4.2 rebounds. West is also averaging 33 minutes per game for Boston. He battled injury woes last season, but has stayed healthy in his second year and progressed nicely.

"I'm learning something new every day, every game. I've learned a whole lot about the position and I'm still learning from Doc and the coaching staff," said West, who's started 48 games for Boston at the point this year.

The knock on West in his rookie year was that he's injury-prone, but West, who wears body padding on his thighs and abdomen under his uniform, insists that staying healthy is no longer an issue.

"No more injuries here. Just block it out. As long as there's nothing broken, the show goes on," said West.

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