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."

Jae Crowder talks about constant trade rumors; love for Boston and Brad Stevens

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Jae Crowder talks about constant trade rumors; love for Boston and Brad Stevens

Celtics forward Jae Crowder talks with Mike Gorman and Brian Scalabrine talks about building on a breakthrough season last year, and the love for his head coach Brad Stevens, and for the city of Boston.

Also, Kyle Draper and A. Sherrod Blakely talk about what lies ahead for Crowder in 2016/17.

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Bradley knows the risks of his all-out brand of defense

Bradley knows the risks of his all-out brand of defense

WALTHAM – There are a number of NBA players we have seen through the years whose effort level has been questioned.
 
But when it comes to Boston Celtics guard Avery Bradley, that has never been an issue.
 
In fact, Bradley’s all-out style of defense has been a major factor in him being sidelined for an extended period of time in each of his six NBA seasons.
 
Although he’s only 25 years old, Bradley is starting to embrace the idea of less all-out defense might not be such a bad idea.
 
“It’s hard to control my injuries because I play hard every single possession,” Bradley told CSNNE.com following the team’s first practice. “I can’t say that every NBA player doesn’t, but I know there’s not a lot. I play hard every single possession especially on the defensive end. That can take a toll on your body. I just have to make sure I’m taking care of myself and picking my spots a little better.”
 
Prior to the Celtics selecting Bradley with the 19th overall pick in the 2011, he suffered a dislocated shoulder injury. Throughout his five NBA seasons, the veteran guard has a long list of injuries which has sidelined him for at least five games every season in addition to missing some playoff games.
 
Knowing the risks involved in continuing his all-out brand of basketball, the fact that Bradley is even open to the idea of picking when to assert himself defensively and when to be more passive, is progress.
 
“I’m pretty sure someone like (ex-Celtics) Tony Allen …  he’s not going to go hard like every possession,” Bradley said. “He’s going to pick his spots, still play good defense.”
 
Which is exactly what Bradley is striving to do this season, and show that last season’s all-NBA First Team Defense nod wasn’t a fluke.

But as we have seen with Bradley throughout his career with the Celtics, he has a way of coming back every season having made a significant stride in some facet of the game to become closer to being a two-way player.
 
“That’s my goal; I want my teammates to be able to count on me playing well at both ends of the floor,” Bradley said.
 
And as I mentioned earlier, Bradley is still a relatively young guy who turns 26 years old in November.
 
‘I’m still a 90s baby’ just like everybody on this team,” quipped Bradley.
 
Being so young puts a premium of sorts on players to learn all they can as quickly as they can in relation to their respective team.
 
“I feel young; I feel young,” Bradley said. “I feel young. I still haven’t even played a full season yet. This will be my first season playing a whole season.”
 
Listening to Bradley talk about adjusting how he plays defensively, it’s pretty clear that he’s having an internal tug-of-war between continuing to play elite defense and easing up defensively.
 
“That’s just me. Some people can do it. Maybe I could take some (plays) off, play passing lanes,” Bradley said. “But I don’t think I’ll ever change into that. It could help our team out a little bit.”