June 21, 2007
True to his vow, Tony Allen once again is on the court, shooting and running through the drills that eventually might have him ready for training camp in October.
The Celtics swingman, the team's hottest player at the time of his season-ending knee injury that required reconstructive surgery in January, was in his usual place at the team's Waltham practice facility this week. His home in Chicago is more like a memory than a haunt.
In between workouts by prospective draftees, Allen was out on the floor going through shooting drills with director of player development Mike Crotty, notably without a knee brace. Though Allen declined comment on his progress, the staff is heartened by his level of activity.
``He's coming along well,'' director of basketball operations Danny Ainge said. ``He's passing all the tests. In today's age, people come back from ACL tears.''
Not many of those, however, are faced with Allen's challenge. He has undergone major surgery on both knees.
Though his recovery from the first knee surgery two years ago was considered slow, Allen did have a major breakthrough shortly before his injury during a Jan. 10 home game against Indiana. He finally was able to rediscover the explosiveness that had been apparent in his game before the first injury in the summer of 2005.
Ainge still has confidence Allen can come back again.
``We have a lot of confidence that we can count on him by training camp,'' Ainge said.
It's not as if the C's haven't been looking at guards, especially when it comes to candidates for their second-round pick in next Thursday's draft. Boise State's Coby Karl and 6-foot-8 Chinese point guard Sun Yue received long looks.
But Ainge has shown little interest in bringing in the cream of the playmaking crop. He doesn't seem interested in using the No. 5 pick on a group that includes Ohio State's Mike Conley Jr., Texas A&M's Acie Law and Georgia Tech freshman Javaris Crittenton.
The list of frontcourt players apparently is too deep to pass up.
``I don't see us drafting a point guard with the No. 5 pick,'' Ainge said. ``But I think I already have a real good feel for Conley, Acie Law and Crittenton.''
Yue had some good moments while Ainge and his staff watched during the two-day visit, but the C's contingent didn't take the time to see him during its most recent trip to China to scout Yi Jianlian.
``He's a possible second-round pick,'' Ainge said of Yue. ``He played well in Orlando.''