The Boston Celtics still want to see what happens in the future with Glen Davis, the burly power forward who suffered an embarrassing broken right thumb just before the start of the regular season after getting into a fight with a friend.
But Davis has returned to the court, and has provided some encouraging play in his first three games back. He's determined to show his Big Baby moniker is not going to continue to define his maturity.
"No matter how old you think you are, you're never as grown up as you think you are because you still make kid mistakes, childish mistakes,'' Davis said in an interview with FanHouse about what he has learned since the Oct. 25 incident. "When you go through a tough stretch like that, I think it's about character. I learned a lot about my character and what kind of person I really truly am. How I feel. It's just a life lesson that I had to go through to be the great player that I want to be one day.''
Davis is looking to find a silver lining in the incident. At least the injury didn't cost the Celtics, who went 22-5 without Davis and are now 23-7, many victories, if any.
Davis is one of the most well-liked players on the team. He's so popular that Celtics officials, initially furious about the injury, ended up simply fining him after first considering a suspension.
For now, some on the Celtics are in a wait-and-see mode. But there's confidence the incident has led to Davis doing some growing up.
"I think he did,'' said guard Ray Allen. "I think that time is going to tell. When you get put in adverse situations and you make decisions, sometimes bad decisions are better for you because you learn lessons from them.''
Meanwhile, foes soon might be learning that the Celtics, who won the 2008 title before being ousted in the Eastern Conference semifinals last May by Orlando, have assembled the NBA's most depth in the post. Davis joins Boston's stable of big men, which includes starters Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins and top reserve Rasheed Wallace.
In last spring's playoffs, the Celtics didn't have Garnett due to a knee injury and Wallace was signed as a free agent last summer. Boston turned to Davis, and he averaged an impressive 15.8 points during the postseason.
"It will be easier in some ways for him in that way,''Celtics coach Doc Rivers said about Davis now having Garnett available to play with him. "It's got to help (having Davis back).''
In his first game back last Friday at Orlando, was unexpectedly given four minutes by Rivers, and he grabbed three rebounds. Rivers used him for 15 minutes Sunday at the Los Angeles Clippers, and Davis totaled eight points and six rebounds. On the second night of a back-to-back situation, Davis scored three points and grabbed five rebounds in 10 minutes Monday at Golden State.
"He's playing very good basketball for us,'' said Rivers, speaking primarily about the Clippers game. "He gets winded like he probably should but I'm thrilled to death watching him play. I didn't think we'd get this much out of him this quickly. ... When you miss the whole season, he's going to be out of shape. He's going to be winded for a while.''
It's not as if Davis ever has been in great shape. He fights a continuous battle with avoirdupois, and claimed he doesn't know now his exact weight.
But Davis, listed at 6-foot-9, 289 pounds, did say he knows he weighs less than 310 pounds, the figure at which Davis must start forking out money.
"I have a weight clause,'' Davis said of a clause in the two-year, $6.3 million deal he signed last summer. "I'm definitely under (310).''
Davis had some nifty plays against the Clippers. Late in the third quarter, Big Baby made a baby hook, then hustled down the floor and drew a charge.
"I'm getting in a rhythm and flow,'' Davis said. "I've just got to put in more extra time. (Game action) you can't simulate when you're hurt.''
Davis figures it might not be until February that he's fully back. But Rivers will continue to be demanding, saying Davis has to continue to improve his rebounding.
Unless the Celtics have a rash of injuries, Davis won't average anywhere near the 36.4 minutes he logged in last spring's playoffs. But the Celtics know there should come times when he really can come in handy in their hopeful march to a second title in three seasons.
"He improves our bench a ton,'' Perkins said. "Big Baby, he just knows the game. He won a ring with us. He played well in the playoffs last year. So it helps a lot.''
There's still a ways to go for Davis. But the Celtics will take baby steps in Big Baby's return.
Chris Tomasson can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @christomasson.