Tony Allen entered the Celtics locker room at the Garden Wednesday night with hip hop blaring through his head phones and a smile on his face. He left it with an injured left knee and an MRI scheduled at New England Baptist Hospital.
Allen’s injury (along with Brian Scalabrine’s right knee injury) was the story of Boston’s loss to the Pacers. Doc Rivers now lacks enough active players to field a game of five-on-five in practice.
“This was terrible,” said Rivers. “With Tony, it’s probably an ACL. With Scal(abrine), it’s probably an MCL. We don’t know that yet.”
With three minutes remaining in the third quarter, Allen went up for a dunk after Stephen Jackson fouled him. Allen came down awkwardly and went to the ground clutching his left knee. He was carried off the court and taken for an MRI, the status of which was not known as of 11 p.m. Wednesday night.
“I knew it right away,” said Rivers. “I tore my ACL the exact same way. You could see his heel jam into the ground. When I ran out there I knew what it was.”
Rivers stressed he had not been given a diagnosis of the injury.
“Hopefully it was just the pain of it,” he said. “None of it is definite on any of these injuries. But most likely it’s what I said. Scal’s probably got more hope than Tony right now.”
Rivers said he tore his ACL on a dunk attempt when Anthony Peeler grabbed his shirt from behind. Rivers said he missed eight months with the injury.
“Right when I hit the ground I knew it,” he said. “So did Tony, unfortunately.”
Allen has taken a more aggressive role since Paul Pierce went down with an injury. His 19 points in the game were a team high.
“I think he’s our emotional leader,” said Rivers. “He gives us great sprit.”
“He became the leader after Paul went down,” said Ryan Gomes. “On offense he attacked a lot more. On the defensive end he guarded guys tough. Now someone else has to step in and try and become that.”
Celtics rookie Leon Powe knows all about knee injuries. Powe has torn his left ACL twice, and he said after the game he had a flashback when Allen went down.
“I felt it,” said Powe.
Powe knows how hard it is to come back from such an injury.
“The knee is like the foot,” he said. “You need your foot to do anything, and you need your knee to do anything.”
Rivers said he would not try to rush other players back sooner to make up for the potential absence of Allen and Scalabrine.
“I’ve never done that and I’ll never do that,” he said. “The good and bad news is even if we wanted to rush them back, they couldn’t come back. I can’t tell you what we’re going to do. Every time Al sees the ball he might see a triple team. We have to put our heads together and figure out a way of playing without these guys.”