Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers broached the idea of giving veteran shooting guard Ray Allen a game off in order to rest his ailing right ankle. But after consulting with the team’s training staff, Allen pleaded his case to stay on the floor.
“My trainers and I discussed [taking a game off],” Allen conceded, “but I really, really do not want go that route. Just put me out there and let me do the best I can.”
In an interview with ESPNBoston.com’s Jackie MacMullan on Tuesday afternoon, Rivers said the team was considering giving Allen a potential game off to allow the painful bone spurs in his right ankle to calm down. But after consulting with the player and the training staff, Allen might have talked his way into staying in the lineup.
“Not yet,” Rivers told reporters later in the day when asked about a potential move. “We’re good. Ray is Ray. We’re going to just keep rolling him out there and see what we can get. When we feel like he can’t give it to us, we’ll go with someone else. But I think right now, you have to give Ray a fighting chance.”
Rivers admitted it’s not an easy decision to make, particularly with Boston already staring at a 1-0 hole in the Eastern Conference finals against the Miami Heat.
“It’s just a decision you make in the game,” Rivers said. “It’s a tough one, but you go into the game and you watch. It’s just going to be that way. It’s not the easiest thing to do. It’s obviously hard for Ray. I’m sure there will be a time when I take him out and he’s going to be feeling great. It’s just something you see.
“I don’t think he has his balance. You could see it on his [missed] free throws, or he’s falling forward or kicking his leg out on every shot. When you watch Ray, he’s up and down — if you drew a square box, usually Ray always lands in the box. Right now, he’s all over the place — leaning, going sideways, falling forward. It’s somewhat of a balance issue, but it’s all created by the [ankle] issue.”
Allen said Tuesday he hasn’t taken a cortisone shot in recent weeks, but said the ankle had regressed, noting, “The last three or four days have been pretty painful.”
Allen, a creature of habit, said the biggest pain is simply not being able to go through his typical workout routine. Allen has been forced to lounge by the pool instead of hitting the exercise room.
“I can deal with contusions and soreness, but this is a different challenge for me,” he said. “I do miss [working out]. I was driving down the street yesterday, talking to my friend and I told him, ‘Normally, I’d be running outside, getting that good sweat in … Now, I’m sitting by the pool.'”
Of course, sitting by the pool isn’t so bad if it helps him avoid sitting on the bench come Game 2.
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