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Ray Allen practices, could return Friday

By Royce Young | NBA writer
It's about time for Jesus Shuttlesworth to make his return.

The Celtics have played Games 1 and 2 against the Hawks without Ray Allen and while they are coming back to Boston tied 1-1, they need their sharpshooter back.

Allen hasn't played since April 10 because of a bad ankle that has developed bone spurs in it. His status for Game 3 is still uncertain, but Allen practiced Thursday and is feeling better about the ankle.

"The last couple of days, I've been in a really good place, so I'm optimistic," Allen told reporters. "If I'm sitting here [Friday] feeling good, that's a different story. I am optimistic about practicing today so that's definitely a great step for me moving forward."

Doc Rivers is still taking things slow though.

"He wants to do more today, so we'll see," said Rivers. "We did that [Monday] and it didn't work. So, we have to maybe limit Ray from Ray. He's such a creature of habit and I actually thought that might have hurt him or any chance for him to play, obviously. [The ankle] reacted that poorly after just the workout he did [Monday], it was probably good that he didn't play, at the end of the day."

The Celtics obviously don't want to rush Allen back and then have him limited as they move forward through the postseason. Boston is probably good enough to get by Atlanta without Allen, and are likely focused on having him healthy for the second round.

But if Allen can go, he will.

"It's always funny, when I'm out in public, people will say, ‘Oh, dont pick up that box because we need you for tomorrow' or ‘Dont' do this,' and I'm like, 'If I can't pick up this box, I don't need to be playing tomorrow.' That's kind of been my life," said Allen. "I am built. I stay in the weight room and I do the things I need to take care of my body. I don't want to baby myself. I don't want to baby my ankle. I want to make sure I go out here and put it through everything, because tomorrow, [the Hawks] don't care about whether I'm healthy or not. If I'm on the floor, they are going to do everything they can to try to exploit what I'm doing out there. So I gotta do everything I can today in practice."

Making it through a full practice is the first step in getting back to the floor, but Allen's official is still up in the air. We'll know for sure if he's going to play Friday.
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