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CELTICS NOTEBOOK

Hip injury may sideline West

CLEVELAND -- Suffering from a left hip pointer, Delonte West hobbled through the visitors' locker room after the Celtics' 115-93 loss to the Cavaliers last night at Quicken Loans Arena. When it was suggested that he looked like an old man, West replied, ''I feel like an old man."

Coach Doc Rivers termed West ''doubtful" for tonight's game against Atlanta. The Celtics officially listed the starting point guard as day to day.

West suffered the injury with 3:19 remaining in the third quarter, when he went in for a layup, tried to go around a Cleveland defender, and fell to the floor. He remained face-down for a couple of minutes, then left the game.

Since being drafted in June 2004, West has suffered more than his fair share of injuries, including a fractured right thumb and fractured right hand last season and a twisted left ankle during training this season. Executive director of basketball operations Danny Ainge has expressed concerns about West's durability.

''It's just a hip pointer," said West. ''Most of the contact landed right on my hip. My lower back started going into a little bit of spasms. It was a better decision to start the rest of the game. I'm going to try [to play in Atlanta]. They're saying I'm going to feel it more so in the morning than right now. It's the ideal situation [to rest it]. But being such a competitor I'm going to try to get out there anyway."

Allen stays behind

Contrary to what he told reporters last week, Tony Allen will not return to practice today. He did not even make the trip, remaining in Boston along with Marcus Banks (stress fracture left leg). According to coach Doc Rivers, Allen will spend the rest of the week working with strength and conditioning coach Bryan Doo, then undergo an MRI on his surgically repaired right knee. The concern now is with a bone bruise that occurred at the same time he tore his meniscus. Rivers expects Allen back practicing with the team Tuesday and guesses he could be activated in two to three weeks. Allen played Gerald Green one-on-one Monday after practice and, according to Rivers, looked ''terrific." Said Rivers, ''If he looks like he looked the other night, it could be pretty quick, but who knows? But a one-on-one game against Gerald Green is completely different than a five-on-five game against everybody."

Floating forward

There may be no bigger Drew Gooden fan outside Cleveland than Rivers, who coached the power forward in Orlando. ''The thing that you love about Drew is he's tenacious," said Rivers. ''He's never going to stop trying to rebound. The only negative with him is you've got to try to keep him inside of who he is. Sometimes he floats into being Magic [Johnson] and sometimes he floats into being Jerry West in his mind. Other than that, he's great." Gooden had 15 rebounds last night (11 defensive) and is averaging 9.7 a game . . . Paul Pierce has a love-hate relationship with Cleveland fans. Recently, it's been more hate, especially after an exhibition game in Columbus, where Pierce allegedly spat at the Cavaliers bench. ''I don't know why the fans don't like me," said Pierce. ''I thought they liked me. I bought a guy popcorn and hot dogs one year. I played with the Moondog [mascot]. I thought they liked me. It's entertainment sometimes. Sometimes you've just got to have fun with it."

Cleveland connection

Here's one for the trivia books: Rivers's son, Austin James, is named after two members of the Cleveland teams of the 1970s: Austin Carr and Jim Brewer (currently a Celtics assistant) . . . Rivers was a little perturbed that Brewer was not represented in the commemorative wall decorations around the Cleveland arena that honored great players from the past. ''Who did this wall?" said Rivers. ''What about guys that helped this team win?" . . . Point guard Damon Jones left the game with 10:50 remaining in the half with a sprained left ankle and did not return.

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