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9.19.2008

The Not So Green Mile: Walton's Ankle Injury Drags On

Bill Walton's Final Months as a Boston Celtic

4/14/87

The record's stuck. The record's stuck. Bill Walton will practice with the Celtics today. If all goes well . . . if all goes well . . . he will play tomorrow night in Indianapolis. "We'll see how it goes," coach K.C. Jones said. "After practice (today), we'll make a determination on if he should go to Indianapolis. If he goes to Indianapolis, he should be able to play."

Jones said he put no pressure on Walton to make a final comeback effort for this year. "He called me over," Jones said. "He says he'll give it a shot. He wants to help the club. I say, OK. It wasn't me pulling him over to talk. It was him pulling me over." Walton was characteristically mum when confronted by reporters. "I don't really know, guys," he said, shrug ging. "I don't really know, guys. I don't really know."

4/16/87

Kevin McHale won't play. Bill Walton will. Well, maybe. The same rules now apply to Walton, who ran fluidly while practicing. He blocked a Robert Parish turnaround, ran in a fast-break layup and converted his normal blind, back-door, over-the-shoulder passes. Walton could be seen testing his sore right ankle throughout lapses in practice. "I'm going to give it my best shot," he said. "I hope it's good enough."

4/17/87

Bill Walton had the green light to play, but didn't.

4/18/87

This might be the best inside information we'll ever hear about Bill Walton's right ankle. It comes from Dennis Johnson. "I asked Bill how the thing was," DJ said. "He said, 'There's not enough time left to worry about it.' "That says something about Bill, the number of years he's played with that pain in his foot. He just came in and played well.

I yelled at him right after, 'Stick your foot in ice.' He plays good in pain."

So it is clear Walton pronounced this as now-or-never week. The ankle is obviously still bothering him, but if he was going to make a difference in the Celtics' languishing season, it was going to have to be pronto. Asked about this scenario, Walton said, "What can I say?

"It's fun to play basketball. It's what I like to do most in my life. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to do much this year . . . I hope for the best.

"I'm just so tired of talking about my foot."

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