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Pollard makes light about end of the tunnel

WALTHAM - Move over, Denis Leary, Lenny Clarke, Dane Cook, Steven Wright, Jay Leno, Conan O'Brien, and Paula Poundstone. There is a new Boston comedian, and his name is Scot Pollard.

While the new Celtics center/forward owns a dry sense of humor that keeps his teammates laughing, what hasn't been a laughing matter is his inability to play or practice because of a lingering bone bruise on his left ankle. The 11-year veteran, however, is expected to work out with the team today, although he will be limited.

"Once I realized the severity of [my injury], I bought some black clothing and walked around in black for a while," Pollard said recently. "You know, Johnny Cash. But I'm over that now. I'm all rainbows and daisies now. I see a light at the end of the tunnel."

The Celtics need it to be all rainbows and daisies for Pollard soon.

Pollard suffered the ankle sprain in offseason workouts in September, but didn't think it was serious. The 6-foot-11-inch, 278-pounder, however, didn't participate in the beginning of training camp in Europe, and was sent home early from Rome for evaluation and rehabilitation.

Pollard has gone from a walking boot to an air cast back to sneakers. After running in a swimming pool and riding a bicycle during rehab, he is now running lightly on a treadmill.

"The only way you can get into basketball shape is to play basketball," Pollard said. "That's the biggest issue in getting back, getting the timing and rust off."

Despite Pollard's inactivity, he is expected to play in the preseason finale tomorrow against Cleveland, and coach Doc Rivers expects him to be ready for the season opener Nov. 2 against Washington at TD Banknorth Garden.

"I think Scot will be ready," said Rivers, who gave his team yesterday off after four exhibition games in six days. "He won't be in great condition. But I think he'll be ready to give us 10 minutes."

Rivers doesn't think Pollard will have a hard time picking up the Celtics' plays since they are similar to what the Kings ran when Pollard played for them from 1998-2003.

"It looks very familiar," said Pollard, 32, who has averaged 4.5 points in his NBA career. "But at this point it's going to be more about getting in shape. I never remember plays. But it looks like a read offense from basic sets run before.

"I've run lots and lots of basic sets. Everything's a little bit familiar. It's just a matter of getting timing with who I'm playing with, knowing what they are going to do, knowing when they are going to cut."

Pollard played with the Cavaliers last season. He views meeting the Spurs in the Finals as memorable - with one exception.

"That was a good experience except for the part about being swept," Pollard said.

Pollard was stuck behind Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Drew Gooden, Anderson Varejao, and Donyell Marshall in the Cavaliers' big man rotation and played sparingly. Pollard acknowledged that it pained him not to get a chance to slow down San Antonio's Tim Duncan.

"I feel like I've had success against Tim Duncan," Pollard said. "In the past, I haven't stopped him. I've just slowed him down. It's the same thing with all the big guys, Shaq [O'Neal], Yao [Ming]. I don't stop them, but I slow them down a little and make their lives a little bit tougher. Not saying anything bad about the other big guys. I know what I do. It was really tough to watch."

Pollard is expected to get his chance to play a lot more behind Celtics center Kendrick Perkins, who has been nursing a left hamstring injury and is expected to miss his third straight preseason game tomorrow. Perkins's injury is another reason it's important for Pollard to be healthy.

"I knew I was [Cleveland's] insurance policy," Pollard said. "With this team, I'm not just the insurance policy. They are counting on me to contribute. So, this is very frustrating and still is."

After sporting a Mohawk in the past, Pollard said about his current hairstyle: "I got the natural mullet going because it's falling out on top . . . It's just long in the back and short in front. So it's nice."

On life, Pollard said: "Life is short. Live hard. One of my favorite quotes is, 'You only live once, and the way I live, once is enough.' Frank Sinatra said that."

On the Celtics' decision not to rush him back, Pollard said: "I'm an idiot in some ways where I just tried to be a tough guy and play through it. I think there are some concerns that I can come back too early and it will linger for the rest of the season or for a while."

On why he screams to teammates to get on the team bus after road shootarounds once he's ready to go, Pollard said: "I've done it for a few years. I think it's a little bit because of [ex-Pacers teammate] Reggie [Miller]. He used to say, 'Let's get on the bus. The bus is here.' But he didn't yell it. Guys used to hang out and talk to [the media] after shootaround. So I was like, 'Man, let's get on the bus!' "

Marc J. Spears can be reached at mspears@globe.com

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