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Celtics notebook

Allen will try to play tonight

Veteran guard has thumb injury

By Marc J. Spears
Globe Staff / February 12, 2009
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NEW ORLEANS - With his right hand wrapped in black tape, Ray Allen looked more like he was getting ready for a boxing match than recovering from a basketball game. But despite missing the second half of the Celtics' 89-77 win over the Hornets last night with a hyperextended right thumb, the All-Star guard hopes he will return tonight at Dallas.

Allen was injured in the first quarter when his thumb got caught in the jersey of teammate Kendrick Perkins. After scoring 1 point and not making a field goal in 19 minutes, Allen left for good with 8:01 left in the second quarter because he couldn't hold onto the ball. Allen was replaced at the start of the second half by Gabe Pruitt.

Allen said he still had soreness after the game. While coach Doc Rivers doesn't think he will play tonight, Allen plans to test his thumb in a pregame workout.

"I'm going to get out there, work out, and see how it feels," said Allen. "I've had jammed fingers before. But I think the thumb, I wouldn't say it's jammed but it's sprained. I never really had sprained fingers, but jammed fingers. Never my thumb."

Rivers satisfied
While roster changes are always a possibility, Rivers is more than happy to stay with the troops he has the rest of the season.

With the NBA trade deadline Feb. 19, Rivers said he wouldn't be surprised if the Celtics made a move. He didn't divulge details. Possible Boston needs include a veteran reserve big man and a hot-scoring combo guard off the bench. But if nothing transpires, Rivers is fine with the team he has.

"Let's go to war with what we got," Rivers said yesterday. "If they bring someone else in, that's great. But I'm not looking for the infantry to come over the hill. I think we have it here. We're ready. What we have, we're good enough to win [with], and I believe that."

Asked if he would be surprised if the Celtics made a trade, Rivers said, "I wouldn't be. I just don't know that anything will happen. It's funny with [president] Danny [ Ainge]. He knows me well enough to know that if it's no more than 50-50, I don't want to hear the trade possibility.

"But [after] that, he doesn't [say anything] unless he knows it's 95 [percent]. He won't even come to me after we've talked about would I do it. And that's how we work: 'Would you do this deal?' 'Yes.' And then I don't want to hear about it anymore because I want to focus on the guys that I have on the team rather than sitting around playing a what-if game."

Posey flattered
Hornets forward James Posey appreciated the notion, including from one anonymous Eastern Conference superstar, that the Celtics might not be as good without him, but still considers his old team championship caliber. Posey signed a four-year, $25 million contract with New Orleans after playing on Boston's championship team last season. With Posey gone, the Celtics have turned more to Tony Allen, Brian Scalabrine, and Pruitt off the bench to fill his shoes.

"It's a sign of respect from the players that have said it to give that to me," Posey said.

Posey is averaging 9.5 points and 4.7 rebounds. The two-time NBA champion averaged 7.4 points and 4.4 rebounds with Boston last season.

Friendly face
P.J. Brown, who was acquired by the Celtics for the stretch run last season, was in attendance and said during halftime that he is officially retired.

"It's over," Brown said. "I've had a great career. What happened in June was the crowning moment."

Sick ward
Tony Allen will miss his second straight game with a thumb injury tonight at Dallas and has missed 15 games this season. Allen didn't make the two-game trip prior to the All-Star break and will be reevaluated Monday in Boston. If cleared, Allen can be on the team charter to Salt Lake City Tuesday and practice that afternoon.

"That's a dangerous injury, those thumbs," Rivers said. "I had one [as a player] and I was out for two months with surgery. You have to be careful. The one thing I know is they are going to reevaluate it and look at it on [Monday]. You have to wait till the swelling [goes down] and then take all the X-rays and stuff. I know he's out for these two games."

Scalabrine did not make trip because of a concussion, but is still slated to meet the Celtics in Salt Lake City. Scalabrine will miss his ninth game tonight.

"[Scalabrine] will be practicing on Tuesday," Rivers said.

Sam Cassell was activated in place of Allen. Rivers hopes Allen and Scalabrine will be back for next Thursday's game against the Jazz.

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