BOSTON (CBS) – Celtics shooting guard Ray Allen hit the practice floor on Thursday, and has high hopes he can play in Game 3 against the Hawks Friday night.
“I like the way I feel right now. I’m in a good place and I’m optimistic,” he said prior to the Celtics practice in Waltham.
Allen has missed both games against the Hawks, and has not seen game action since April 11 with a lingering ankle injury that will require surgery once the season ends. There have been times where it looked as though Allen would be able to suit up, only to be a late scratch.
An Optimistic Ray Allen:
This has left head coach Doc Rivers and the Celtics’ medical staff at a loss.
“I don’t even know what to do, honest to God,” said Rivers. “[Trainer] Eddie [Lacerte] and our doctors, we’ve all talked and we don’t know the answer. We don’t know if practicing is a good thing or not. If he practices today and doesn’t play tomorrow, I’m going to be upset with myself. So we’ll see.”
It has been just as frustrating for Allen.
“There would be a Monday where I’m feeling good, and then on Tuesday it would be like ‘it’s just not happening today,’” said Allen, who took free throws and a few jump shots prior to the practice session. “I’ve tried to read my body the best I can and the last couple days I’ve been in a really good place. So like I’ve said I’m optimistic.”
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If Allen does return, he would likely come off the bench, as he did for four games in early April. The C’s are expecting rust to be a factor, but right now, having a shooter like Allen back would be big for their matchup against the Hawks.
“We just need a scorer. We just need to space the floor,” said Rivers, whose Celtics are just 3-for-25 from three-point territory. “They’re killing us with their helps. They’ve decided without Ray on the floor, we’re going to swarm everyone and you’re going to have to find someone. It’s been hard.”
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It’s been hard for Allen, but he has felt a lot of love from his teammates as he works his way back. They ask him every day how he feels, and when he thinks he can return, something Allen hopes doesn’t stop.
“For me, I’m excited about [maybe playing]. My body is excited and P (Paul Pierce) is probably excited,” Allen joked. “He asks me every day. It’s always great when one of the guys said to me ‘I’m going to stop asking about your ankle.’ I told him I appreciate when you ask because it shows that you care.”
“I said never stop asking, because when you stop that’s when I get worried. I’m here for these guys, and I want to do everything I can to get back on the floor,” said Allen.