Allen returns to practice, but will he play Friday?

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Allen returns to practice, but will he play Friday?

WALTHAM You know, Allen Iverson may have been on to something with his disdain for practice.

Because the way things are starting to play out, keeping Ray Allen out of practices and limiting him during shootarounds may be the only way to get him back on the floor for an actual game.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers is getting to a point where that may indeed be an option to consider as Allen continues to struggle at returning to the court since suffering a right ankle injury during the regular season.

"We don't know if practicing is a good idea or not," Rivers said prior to Thursday's practice which did include Allen.

Allen made it through a rare Celtics practice on Thursday, seemingly okay.

But we've seen time and time again, Allen would make it through a workout in decent shape the day before a game, only to have problems surface within hours or a day later.

Rivers acknowledged that he would "be upset" at himself if Allen made it through Thursday's practice but was unable to play in Game 3.

Allen, who has missed the last 11 games -- including the last nine of the regular season and both playoff games thus far -- remains hopeful he'll be able to play Friday.

"I like how I feel now; I'm in a good place," he said. "I'm optimistic."

Since he began having significant ankle problems in late March, he's had days when the ankle felt good enough to allow him to do many of the preparation-like things he's used to, such as practicing with the team or participating in the C's shootaround on game days.

But the good vibes then are soon followed by swelling and discomfort.

Allen recently revealed that he has bone spurs in the right ankle. He said swelling in the ankle area makes the bone spurs more active and, thus, puts his pain threshold to the test in ways that have kept him sidelined.

That's why Allen's demeanor on Thursday, while upbeat, had more to do with how he was feeling at the moment than it did the possibility that he might play on Friday.

"I've tried to read my body as best I can," Allen said. "The last couple days, I've been in a really good place."

When asked about playing in Game 3, a grinning Allen said, "I'm optimistic first; period. I deal with the days as they come. If I'm sitting here Friday feeling good, that's a different story."

A 16-year-veteran, Allen is known for his ritualistic preparation which does add some pressure to that gimpy, surgically repaired ankle.

Hes a tough one because hes such a creature of habit," Rivers said. "He does his workouts the night before every game and does his two hours of shooting and then before the game does his hour of shooting. Thats a lot of work. We have to figure out a way of allowing him to try to do some of it, but not doing so much where when he finishes he cant play. Id rather take 10 minutes of him on the floor than nothing, if thats what it comes to.

Convincing Allen to ease up is a lot easier said than done.

"I only know what I know," Allen said. "Even in the games that I haven't played, I still try to get into the building and work on something to hopefully get my body ready and prepared to keep it where it needs to be. I don't fly by the seat of my pants. Everything is deliberate. I've been deliberately doing what I need to get back. So hopefully, I'll get to that point."

Bradley could miss 'a little more time' with Achilles injury

Bradley could miss 'a little more time' with Achilles injury

BOSTON – Wednesday’s 117-106 loss to the New York Knicks was the fifth time in the last six games that Boston Celtics guard Avery Bradley was out because of a right Achilles injury.

Well, it appears the 6-foot-2 guard may miss a few more with this injury.

“I can see him missing a little more time,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said following Wednesday’s loss. “I just think maybe he came back a little bit too early, whatever the case may be.”

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Bradley was expected to play against the Knicks, but was a last-minute scratch.

Celtics big man Al Horford said he didn’t find out Bradley was out until the team was on the floor doing pre-game warmups and he didn’t see him.

“He was really sore,” Stevens said of Bradley. “Went through our walk-through and then came on to the court and did some stuff and was more sore today than he has been. I think he did treatment the whole game.”

This latest setback for Bradley is part of a growing narrative that has dogged him throughout his career which has included him missing games to injury in each of his six-plus NBA seasons.

Bradley came into this season once again hoping to be as injury-free as possible, only to see that dream dashed with this right Achilles strain he's suffering with currently.

Still, there’s no downplaying the significance and value the Celtics have in the 26-year-old. This season, he is second on the Celtics in scoring at 17.7 points per game and leads them in rebounds with 6.9 per game with both being career highs. In addition, he averages just under 35 minutes per game which is also tops on the team.

Marcus Smart has been Stevens’ choice to replace Bradley in the starting lineup when Bradley has been unavailable, and that’s not likely to change between now and Saturday’s home game against the Portland Trail Blazers.