Tony Allen remembers everything about the play that ended his season.
“When it happened we were making a run,” Allen told reporters before Wednesday night’s game with the Lakers. “I can remember looking at (Pacers guard) Orien Greene and telling him, ‘I was about to get ya’ll 30 and get the win.’ I just tried to get a smile on my face before I went back into the locker room to get what the result of the injury was.”
Allen tore the ACL and MCL in his left knee during that Jan. 10 game. The injury came when Allen went up for a dunk after a blown whistle. Allen has watched the play, but don’t blame him if he doesn’t have it queued up in his VCR.
“Yeah, I saw it,” Allen said. “I try not to watch it. I couldn’t say whether I should have (tried to dunk), but I did. Unfortunately I did. I just try to move on. It happened. You can’t take back time.”
Time is something Allen now has plenty of, and he’s using it to get back into shape following surgery two weeks ago to repair his knee. He has been working for two hours every day with Celtics trainer Ed Lacerte on leg lifts and range of motion exercises. He can now bend his knee 90 degrees.
“It’s little exercises that if I was healthy, they would be nothing,” Allen said.” But considering I lost a lot of strength in my knee, my leg, and my quad, those exercises are tough. I’ll be sweating just doing leg exercises.”
Allen was in good spirits and chatted with reporters for more than 10 minutes before the Lakers game.
“When it happened I was like, ‘Man, why me?’ But it happened for a reason. I just need to get through it. I was satisfied with my playing, but I think I can get healthy and regroup, get right back to where I left off.”
Allen said he watches all of the team’s games and e-mails his teammates to let them know the good and bad things they are doing. Celtics coach Doc Rivers said Allen became the emotional leader of the team when Paul Pierce went down.
“A lot of times when I’m in the locker room I keep spirits up by just cracking jokes and keeping smiles on guys’ faces,” said Allen. “A lot of guys are in the locker room so focused and mad at the same time because of how they played last game or whatever. I try to just keep them at ease, just keep a good flow through their bodies.”
Celtics team doctor Brian McKeon told Allen he would need six to eight months of recovery time. Allen, who will spend the next four to six weeks on crutches, said he expects to be back ahead of schedule so he can participate in training camp. He said he is inspired by teammate Leon Powe, as well as Denver’s Nene, two players who came back from similar knee injuries.
“I watched Nene take off the other day for a big jam,” said Allen.
In six to eight months, Allen hopes to be doing the same.