- Peter May, Celtics reporter, ESPNBoston.com
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WALTHAM, Mass. -- Ray Allen has not played since a 25-minute stint in Milwaukee nearly two weeks ago. Sidelined by a sore right ankle that necessitated a cortisone shot, Allen went through a rare Celtics practice on Tuesday and said he's planning on rejoining his teammates for Wednesday night's game against the San Antonio Spurs.
Allen has had a couple of false alarms while trying to return, going through day-of-game shootarounds last Friday and Sunday before pulling back. He said the cortisone shot on Sunday provided immediate relief.
"I had a shot in the ankle (last Sunday) and had all day to kind of let it maneuver through my body,'' Allen said. "(Tuesday), I walked in and I felt like I had two new wheels."
The Celtics were 5-1 in Allen's absence with Avery Bradley playing well as a starter. There was some speculation that coach Doc Rivers might not want to mess with the recent stretch of success and would instead bring Allen off the bench. That would enable the developing Bradley to continue to play with the starters while also having a scoring weapon off the bench in Allen. The last time Allen came off the bench was in the 2002-03 season with the Milwaukee Bucks -- for one game.
But Rivers said if Allen does return Wednesday, it will be as a starter. Nonetheless, when asked about the option of keeping Bradley as a starter, Rivers said the topic had come up for discussion among the coaches. The coach was uncharacteristically evasive about making such a move.
"We do it all the time,'' Rivers said, referring to talking about lineup changes among the coaches. "We've thought about that (keeping Bradley as a starter) and other guys as well. For the last three years, we thought about it and talked about it. We'll see how it goes. If not, we will (start Bradley). Maybe somebody else, who knows? We like what we have."
And, for the record, Rivers hasn't penciled in Allen as a starter or a reserve for the game just yet.
"Ray went through the entire practice,'' Rivers said. "That still doesn't mean he'll play, because the practice could affect his ankle and (then) he can't play. Right now, he's playing."
Allen said he felt demonstrably better Tuesday after a regular practice than he did after going through less-strenuous shootarounds last Friday in Minnesota and again on Sunday in Boston before the Miami game.
"Going through shootarounds and favoring it, and holding it and wincing. I didn't deal with that at all,'' he said Tuesday.
Asked about the decision to take a cortisone shot, Allen admitted, "I never liked taking shots or taking medicine. I try to do everything as natural as I possibly can. Sometimes your body needs a kick in the right direction. Physically, the time off was good. My ankle was (sore). I gave it a little help."
He said he was not concerned about what his role might be when he does return. (Rivers said he had had "zero" conversations with Allen about the subject.)
"Whatever combinations we work out there, we're good enough and professional enough to understand it,'' he said. "We're at a point of the season where everybody knows who each other is. Remembering plays and position is second nature to us all."
Allen also said it has been difficult being a spectator these past six games. Until this recent stretch of idleness, he never had missed more than three straight games since joining the Celtics in 2007. This year, he already has missed 11 games. He had missed 16 in his first four years with the Celtics, seven in the last four years.
"It's kind of mentally draining,'' he admitted. "There is conversation going in the locker room that you're not really a part of. I'm sitting in the locker room watching the games and there is a language being spoken that I'm not a part of. I'm watching the game, but I don't know what's happening.
"When you're playing, you're in it. It's frustrating. You go home. My body, it's like it needs to hit the highway. It needs to rev up. It's geared to go on the highway so I'll be glad to be back out there."
Ray Allen practiced Tuesday and said he hopes to return from an ankle injury Wednesday.