Chris Wilcox Returns to Practice Yet Again

WALTHAM, Mass. – It has been a long season for Chris Wilcox. It began with his rehabilitation from last season’s heart surgery, it transitioned into back issues during training camp and then he went down with a sprained UCL in his right thumb in mid-December.

The injuries have been plentiful but the big man has slowly overcome each and every one of them. Sunday marked his latest return to the practice floor after a three-week rehab on his thumb.


Chris Wilcox will be playing with his thumb wrapped like this for the foreseeable future.
Marc D'Amico/

Wilcox wasn’t expected back this quickly when the thumb injury first happened. It was initially feared that Wilcox’s season might be in jeopardy due to required surgery. However, surgery was avoided and the big man has been rehabbing ever since. Now, exactly three weeks after the injury occurred, Wilcox is back on the floor with his teammates. That’s an impressive feat considering where he was just a few weeks ago.

“I couldn’t even palm a basketball,” he admitted. “Where I’m at right now is a whole different place than I was a couple of weeks ago.”

Despite the drastic improvement in his thumb, Wilcox is still experiencing pain. That’s why he and the medical staff are using the next few days as a measuring stick to see what he can and can’t handle.

“That’s why I want to get a couple of practices in before I just jump out there and try to play in a game,” Wilcox said. “So I think today is going to be the first day for me to go out there and see exactly where I’m at.

“Like I said, I’ll get a good practice in, play a little defense, push off with it and things like that.”

No date has been chosen for Wilcox’s return to game action. Wilcox did, however, made it clear that he has been working diligently on his conditioning while he’s been out, so that he might hop back into the lineup quickly when the team feels his thumb will hold up.

Wilcox knows that he will be experiencing consistent pain once that day arrives. As he told the media on Sunday, this is not an injury that he expects to heal quickly.

“It will probably be something I’ll have to deal with for a little while until it heals all the way back,” he said.

Wilcox is willing to fight through the pain as long as he’s able to get back onto the court. He has struggled with his health all season long and he hopes that this return to the lineup will be his final return from an injury.

The Celtics are hoping that Wilcox is returning to the lineup for good, too. They haven’t been completely healthy at any point this season and Wilcox’s return will change that. Sunday’s practice will be only the second this season in which Rivers has had all of his players healthy enough to participate.

The good news is that Wilcox is returning at just the right time. He’s rejoining one of the hottest teams in the NBA during a stretch in which the Celtics will be able to fit in plenty of practice time.

“This is when you need practice time right here,” said Kevin Garnett, “for guys who haven’t been in the flow of things.”

Garnett, who has seen the frontcourt rotation around him juggle all season long, made it clear that he was excited to see Wilcox back on the floor this afternoon.

“It’s good to have him back,” Garnett said. “Today should be a very interesting and passionate day. It’s good to have Chris back.”

Now let’s just hope that he’s back for good.