Celtics notebook

Allen ‘probable’ for playoffs

By Frank Dell’Apa and Gary Washburn
Globe Staff / April 27, 2012
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Ray Allen missed the Celtics’ final regular-season game against Milwaukee Thursday at TD Garden, raising questions about his availability for the playoffs. A left ankle injury has caused Allen to miss 14 games since March 23.

Coach Doc Rivers said Allen is “probable’’ for the opening playoff contest at Atlanta Sunday.

“It’s a concern, that’s all I have to tell you,’’ Rivers said of Allen’s condition before the Celtics’ 87-74 victory. “I don’t know much more than that. He’s probable - put him at that.

“He can get back but I don’t know how long it will take for him to play well. He’s been out for a while. To go from zero to 100, which is what the playoffs are, is very difficult. But when you put Ray on the floor you still have to guard him. So having him on the floor gives us something - it gives us spacing.’’

Celtic captain Paul Pierce aggravated a right big toe injury in the first quarter, returning briefly and totaling 12 points in 6:41. Asked about his condition, Pierce replied: “You saw me go back into the game, didn’t you?’’

Wilcox on hand

Chris Wilcox was an unexpected guest, watching from a baseline seat, his first appearance at a game since undergoing surgery for an enlarged aorta on March 29.

Wilcox said he will be able to resume basketball activities in three months and will be available to play in the NBA next season.

“I’m feeling good man, I’m feeling a whole lot better,’’ he said at halftime. “It’s over with now. [The doctor] told me I got like a couple of more months to get back right and then a month to recover and I’m straight. I’ve been doing cardiac rehab, so I’m feeling a whole lot better now.’’

Wilcox said a December preseason physical detected a potential aortic issue and he was told to return for a further exam in three months. A March exam determined an enlarged aorta and season-ending surgery was required. Wilcox has yet to appear in the postseason in his nine-year career, and this year with the Celtics would have been the first. He averaged 5.4 points and 4.4 rebounds in 28 games for the season after signing a one-year contract in December.

“I’m definitely disappointed that I can’t be out there,’’ Wilcox said. “At the end of the day it saved my life so I can’t even complain. I never knew what was going on, so I never got no checkups or nothing. I’ve been doing like everybody else, getting a physical at the beginning of the season every year.’’

Wilcox was the second Celtic to miss time with an aortic-related surgery. Jeff Green missed the entire season after surgery to repair an aortic aneurysm.

“I talked to [Green] on the regular,’’ Wilcox said. “I kept calling him like, ‘Yo, what was going on when you were having your surgery.’ I was kind of paranoid at first. But once I got in the hospital everything was straight. It’s been smooth sailing since then. Everything is getting better.’’

Wilcox talked with his former teammates and said he was grateful to be back in Boston.

“It feels great,’’ he said. “Like I said, I’ll be home with my wife and she’ll say, ‘You don’t need to watch the game if you are going to get that excited.’ So I have been following the guys.’’

Chances are . . .

Rivers labeled the Celtics “un-favorites’’ in the playoffs. “The favorites are the favorites,’’ Rivers said. “I don’t know what you call everybody else - un-favorites? Every single team thinks they have a shot this year. If it had been 82 games, same thing. I just think this is one of those years the favorites are the favorites, they deserve to be the favorites. But the underdogs are confident and I think we are in that group.’’ The Celtics have been preparing for the first round all week. “Our walk-through the last game was Atlanta,’’ Rivers said. “We watched film, we started three days ago.’’

One-track mind

Mickael Pietrus (knee) returned after missing four games, and Rajon Rondo (back spasms) returned after missing three. “Rondo hasn’t played in 10 days,’’ Rivers said. “As a coach, I’m thinking conditioning. We’re going to use this [game] in some ways as conditioning.’’ Said Pietrus, “I’m not worried about my knee. I want to die for that team. At the end of the day, I want to win the championship. I don’t want to have any regrets. I’ve been playing through pain, so I’m ready to go to war and sacrifice myself and try to win a championship. I haven’t played for a week now, but it doesn’t matter if you haven’t played for a month or a year. When you step on the floor, you have that championship mind. I’m a very competitive guy, so I don’t worry about being rusty.’’ Pietrus, who sustained a concussion in a game at Philadelphia last month, talked about the concussion sustained by Oklahoma City’s James Harden when he was elbowed by Metta World Peace of the Lakers. “It’s no joke,’’ Pietrus said. “Hopefully, he’s OK, because that was the worst feeling of my life.’’

Frank Dell’Apa can be reached at

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