BOSTON -- After missing the last six games with a sore right ankle, Ray Allen will return to the Celtics starting lineup on Wednesday against the San Antonio Spurs. He is not limited in minutes and will wear his usual tape on his ankle, no extra protection.
Its interesting, he said. I just know my body so well and the difference coming in today and even practicing yesterday, its a night and day difference. Just being able to push, get lifts, and again, tonight well see.
Allen has not played since March 23, but his injury actually dates back to March 12 when he slid on a wet spot and rolled his ankle during a game against the Clippers in Los Angeles. Allen left the court, but did return, only to tweak it again two days later against the Golden State Warriors.
Even though he felt pain, he wanted to help his team during their eight-game road trip. Eventually, the swelling caused so much discomfort and trouble with mobility that he made the decision to sit out until he felt like he could be effective on the court.
Ive always known to give my body time, but were playing so many games I never gave it time. One day it just said, Im not letting you move. Im not letting you go anywhere, he said, adding, The decision was mine because I couldnt do what I needed to do to help this team.
Allen underwent an MRI which did not reveal any structural damage to the previously surgically-repaired ankle.
"I know structurally that my ankle is sound," he said.
Allen expects to feel some rustiness when he first takes the floor -- You never go into the game thinking everythings going to be where its supposed to be from where it was the last time, he said -- and will manage his play during his return just as he does throughout the season.
In this condensed season, he knows playing through some type of bumps and bruises are part of the schedule.
I dont know what 100 percent feels like, he said. During the season, its really hard to say. That number is mythical. I dont know anybody in this locker room thats felt that. You just kind of manage what you can. If you can get out there and do your job, thats what you strive for.