WALTHAM, Mass. -- It has been two weeks since Ray Allen appeared in a game for the Celtics. In that span, while trying to recover from a right ankle injury, he has seen one comeback attempt fall short, added a walking boot to his daily routine and watched his team do pretty well without him.
He could not come up with a definitive answer Monday as to when we’ll next see him in a game. We know it won’t be Tuesday night against Miami; he’s been ruled out of that one. Beyond that, he can’t say, not even for the Thursday night regular-season finale at home against Milwaukee.
“It’s still being a little troublesome," Allen said of the ankle. “It’s getting better. I’m aggressively treating it. I ran today (on a low-impact exercise machine) for the first time in three or four days. We’ll see how it responds.”
Asked about getting some playing time on Thursday, Allen said, “I don’t think I’m that far along yet. We’ll go at it again on Tuesday and see on Wednesday.” He later said he was, basically, day-to-day.
Allen was one of four rotation regulars to sit out Monday’s rare practice, joined on the sidelines by Rajon Rondo, Mickael Pietrus and Greg Stiemsma. Coach Doc Rivers said he expected Rondo to return for the Miami game. (Rondo deadpanned he was “39 percent” for the game and added he mostly stayed off the floor to avoid contact.) Pietrus is a “maybe,” Rivers said. Stiemsma should play; he hasn’t practiced for some time due to foot issues.
Asked about Allen, Rivers said, “It’s not healing. It’s getting better, slowly, but until it gets all the way, we’re going to keep sitting him. If he can play Thursday, we’ll play him. Not a lot, but we’ll play him.”
There have been two “right ankle” periods of inactivity for Allen. The first surfaced at the end of the Celtics’ eight-game road trip in March. He sat out the trip finale in Philadelphia, then missed five additional games. He returned for the April 4 game against the Spurs after getting a cortisone shot. That would turn out to be the last game he started.
With Avery Bradley flourishing, Allen accepted a role coming off the bench in the next four games, still averaging more than 30 minutes a game. But he has not played since going 35 minutes in Miami on April 10.
The Miami game Tuesday will be the eighth straight game and 19th overall that Allen has missed this season. Fourteen of those absences are due to his right ankle. He said Monday that he’s not ruling out another cortisone shot, but is waiting to see how his current therapy plays out. Mostly, he said, he’s resting the ankle as much as he can. When he’s ambulatory, he wears the walking boot.
“I wear the boot all day," he said. “It keeps me from flexing the ankle and hopefully takes away the wear and tear. I can’t say whether it helps or hurts because I don’t know what would happen if I didn’t wear it.”
Allen thought he would return last week in New York, joining the team there and participating in the morning shootaround on April 17. But, as he said, after that workout, “it just blew up. ... I was frustrated.”
An MRI has revealed tiny bone spurs (Allen said they are the size of a grain of sand), which appear to be the culprit. He said it was nowhere near the problem he had with his ankles in 2006-07, when he had larger bone spurs that necessitated surgery.
But with the playoffs starting this weekend, he simply does not know if he will be able to play. He is involved in the playoff preparations for Atlanta as much as he can be. The mind is certainly willing.
“I can’t do anything more than what my body allows," he said. “It’s hard to say. You get up, pay attention to it, get treatment. Then we’ll see where it goes from there.”
The Celtics are 14-4 in the 18 games Allen has missed this season. He also has missed three games with a jammed left ankle and two games due to illness.
The 18 games are the most Allen has missed since he was out for 27 games in 2006-07, the year before he came to Boston. As a Celtic, he had missed only 16 games in his first four seasons, the most (nine) coming in his first season. He is averaging 14.2 points in 34 minutes a game. Those statistics are the lowest since his rookie year of 1996-97.
Pietrus has not played since April 15 in Charlotte, tending to right knee issues while missing three games. He has missed 15 games since he was activated in mid-January, 10 of those due to a concussion suffered March 23 in Philadelphia. Rondo has sat out the last two games (Orlando and Atlanta) with what the team said is a sore lower back. He has missed 10 games this season.