Rivers Talks Tony Allen

September 18, 2005

Coach Doc Rivers knows the Celtics have a lot of questions to answer entering this preseason. With Tony Allen undergoing arthroscopic right knee surgery last Tuesday night to repair torn cartilage, Rivers can add one more to the list.

   Rivers is unsure of the impact of Allen's absence; he could be sidelined into the regular season. But missing valuable practice time and exhibition games will set Allen back, especially since the coach expected the second-year player to have a breakthrough season.

    "By the time he gets there [back on the floor], we'll be pretty much set," said Rivers. "He'll have to break his way back into the rotation.

   "He's so young that every second on the floor is good for him. It will absolutely hurt his development as a player. I can't anticipate him being back for opening night, but I've learned not to underestimate young guys."

The timing is unfortunate, but the Celtics had no choice about the surgery.

"There was not really any decision to be made," said Rivers. "It wasn't where we were sitting around thinking, 'Should we not do it?' He had to have surgery."

Allen appeared to be the leading candidate to start at shooting guard. Now, Rivers will have more leeway to experiment with combinations. Rivers would actually like to see Paul Pierce at shooting guard if he can handle the assignment defensively. That leaves Ryan Gomes, Justin Reed , and Brian Scalabrine as possible starters at small forward.

   In addition to recovering and rehabbing from the surgery, Allen must also deal with legal troubles in Chicago stemming from a nightclub shooting.

"There's nothing I can do," said Rivers. "He's down in the dumps. He hasn't had a good two weeks. But at the end of the day, everything you learn from."

Big assists

Both Justin Reed and Al Jefferson rode out Hurricane Katrina with family in Mississippi, then returned to Boston. They went back to the hurricane-ravaged area this weekend as part of "Operation Rebound," a relief effort. Reed and Jefferson joined more than a dozen NBA and WNBA players who distributed 20 truckloads of supplies in Jackson, Hattiesburg, Biloxi, and Gulfport.

"I had to stay here until power came back on," said Reed as he made the trip from his hometown of South Jackson to Hattiesburg, close to where Jefferson grew up. "It was kind of crazy. I had never been in anything like that. We had a little minor damage [to the family home], but nothing to really worry about, minor stuff."

Reed and his family were without power and running water for five days. But as soon as a nearby Wal-Mart opened a few days after the storm, Reed purchased diapers, pillows, and blankets and delivered them to evacuees staying at Jackson Coliseum.

"It makes you very emotional because some people have lost everything they have," said Reed. "People are so excited to see people ready to help them."

   Said Jefferson, "I want to do everything I can to get Mississippi back on the right track. Hopefully, a lot of other guys from Mississippi feel the same way. I haven't thought about what yet, but I plan on doing something all year round."


   Red Auerbach continues to improve in a Washington hospital. No word on when he'll be released. His 88th birthday is Tuesday. . . In October, the Celtics will hold open tryouts for national anthem singers. Stay tuned for details . . .Just a reminder: Tickets for all Celtics games go on sale Saturday at the Garden box office.

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