Allen back in lineup tonight vs. Knicks

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Allen back in lineup tonight vs. Knicks

NEW YORK The Celtics are about as whole as they'll ever be with Ray Allen returning to the lineup tonight against the New York Knicks.

Allen has missed the last four games with swelling in his right ankle, the same injury that sidelined him for six games earlier this season.

While Allen was out, head coach Doc Rivers said on more than one occasion that if it were a playoff game, Allen likely would have been able to play.

"There were times when I thought that," Allen said. "And probably still give it a go. But there were days when I just couldn't (play) just based on the lack of mobility and the swelling that I had in it."

He added, "It sounds good to say I would have went, because I would have tried to go. Just with what I would have been able to do, it wouldn't have been smart if I went."

The fact that he re-injured the ankle twice in a short period of time, and given his history of ankle surgeries, questions were raised as to whether he was dealing with an injury more serious than ankle swelling.

However, Allen said MRI results showed no structural damage.

The injury taking longer to heal, he said, was more of a function of him playing on it longer than he should have in addition to trying to come back too soon.

"It just never had a chance to heal," Allen said. "Once I turned it twice within two games, I was just on it. The way I run, going up and down, I just never gave it a chance to go away (the swelling). I want to play and I want to test my body, but certain times you just have to give it a chance (to heal)."

While Allen's return is certainly welcomed, there's no guarantee that a game or two from now he won't have to deal with the same injury.

However, having the long layoff provides a much better chance that the swelling in the ankle won't be an issue anytime soon.

"I was making sure I took every precaution, moving forward," Allen said.

His return has been one his teammates have been looking forward to, even if it may come at the expense of them losing some minutes on the floor.

"We're a family, always pulling for one another, so that's the first thing," C's guard Avery Bradley told CSNNE.com recently. "And we're so much better a team when he's with us. For us, we need everybody healthy, playing their game, to have a good run in the playoffs."

Grousbeck: Celtics want Thomas longterm, but would draft a point guard

Grousbeck: Celtics want Thomas longterm, but would draft a point guard

The Celtics didn’t know when they traded a late first-round pick and Marcus Thornton for Isaiah Thomas that they were getting their next star player, but that 2015 trade deadline move has proven to be a pleasant surprise. 

Appearing on Felger and Mazz Friday, Celtics CEO and co-owner Wyc Grousbeck said that he sees Thomas, who will be a free agent after next season, in the team’s longterm plans. 

“Every one of these seasons is different. It’s like a movie and you have a cast of characters and the cast changes a little bit every season,” Grousbeck said. “We’d love to have Isaiah here for a long, long time. He’s a phenomenal player and he loves being here.” 

The Celtics stand a strong chance of picking first overall in June’s draft since they own Brooklyn’s first-round pick. Asked whether Thomas’ status would prevent the team from taking a point guard (which the draft’s two prospects play), Grousbeck said the team doesn’t need to decide that now, but suggested it wouldn’t.

“Especially if it’s a very high pick in the draft, you’ve got to draft the best player,” Grousbeck said. “You probably wouldn’t draft for fit as much as just you see if there’s a transformational player that you can have for 10 or 15 years there. If you see a guy like that, you’ve got to make everything else work, I would think.” 

It's official: Patriots nab third-round compensatory pick in Collins trade

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It's official: Patriots nab third-round compensatory pick in Collins trade

The Patriots received a conditional fourth-round pick in 2018 from the Browns in return for Jamie Collins. That's how the trade was described on the league's transaction wire. 

The "condition" of that fourth-rounder? Well, if the Browns received a third-round compensatory pick in 2017, the Patriots would nab that pick instead. 

On Friday, the NFL announced that the Browns had in fact been awarded a third-round compensatory pick, which meant that almost three full weeks after Super Bowl LI, everything was still coming up Patriots.

In actuality, the odds were pretty good all along that the Patriots would get what they got

Cleveland lost Pro Bowl center Alex Mack in free agency last offseason when he opted to sign with the Falcons. Because compensatory picks are based on free agents lost and free agents acquired, and because the Browns did not sign any similarly-impactful free agents, there was a good chance Mack's departure would render a third-round comp pick that would be shipped to New England.

Had Mack suffered a significant injury that forced his play to drop off or limited his time on the field, a third-rounder may have been out of the question, but he played well (named a Pro Bowler and a Second Team All-Pro) and stayed healthy -- lucky for the Patriots -- missing just 17 total snaps in the regular season. 

The Browns comp pick that will be sent to New England is No. 103 overall. The Patriots were also awarded a fifth-round comp pick, No. 185 overall. That was a result of the league weighing the departures of Akiem Hicks and Tavon Wilson against the arrival of Shea McClellin.

The Patriots now have nine selections in this year's draft: One first-rounder; one second-rounder; two third-rounders; one fourth-rounder*; two fifth-rounders; two seventh-rounders.

* The Patriots forfeited their highest fourth-round selection in this year's draft as part of their Deflategate punishment. They acquired a fourth-round pick from the Seahawks last year. Because that would have been the higher of their two selections, that's the one they'll lose. They will make their own fourth-round pick at No. 137 overall.