Ray Allen's Knee Isn't 100%

September 16, 2007

HUDSON, N.H. - While "The Big Three" sounds good to Celtics guard Tony Allen, "The Big Four" sounds better.

Once Allen fully recovers from left knee surgery, he believes he might be able to add a star to an already star-studded lineup of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen.

The fourth-year Celtic was recently cleared to play and hopes to be ready for the season opener Nov. 2.

"If you put the ball in my hands when I'm healthy, hey, it won't be The Big Three, it might be The Big Four," said Allen, who was here yesterday with ex-Celtic Cedric Maxell to present a renovated home basketball court to a contest winner and conduct a basketball clinic. "Right know I'm hungry. That's the mentality I got."

So why is Allen, who averaged 11.5 points last season, confident he can be on a par with three perennial All-Stars?

Allen averaged 18.8 points in the last 14 games (Dec. 13-Jan. 10) of the 33 he played last season. The 6-foot-4-inch, 213-pounder scored at least 20 seven times in that hot span, including a career-high 30 against Denver Dec. 15.

"I watch those tapes every day," Allen said. "I edited them myself."

But Allen's breakthrough season ended with left knee surgery Jan. 13.

"It humbled me a lot," Allen said. "I'm basically taking it one day at a time. I was at an all-time high there. But once the injury came, it stopped. I asked myself, 'Is this supposed to happen to me?' But really, I kept focused on trying to get back healthy."

Allen says his knee is "70 percent" and he couldn't play if there were a game today. He participated in five-on-five scrimmages for four straight days last week, but he hasn't regained his explosiveness, nor is he ready to catch alley-oops.

"I feel like everything is there except my explosiveness right now," said Allen. "I can jump. I can rebound. I can pass. I can cut. It's like my explosive cutting to the basket and on curls - I need to work on that."

Allen has been receiving advice from Philadelphia guard Willie Green about recovering from knee surgery. Allen was impressed when he saw Green dunk on an ESPN highlight last season. After hearing that Green had had similar knee surgery, Allen got his phone number and called. Green, who averaged a career-high 11.3 points in 74 games last season, obliged.

"He just told me to keep God first and know that there are going to be some good days and some bad days, but work to your strengths," Allen said. "And that's what I've been doing. Some days I'm not feeling good. I let the trainer know, 'I'm not feeling good with this exercise, we need to do something else."'

Allen says he doesn't feel pressured by being in the final year of his contract, which pays $1.8 million next season.

"I try not to even worry about that," Allen said. "Everything is going to take its toll. The good thing about that is I've already shown them what I can do once they put the ball in my hands."

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