WALTHAM, Mass. -- In a hopeful sign that he might be available to play in Game 3 Friday night, Ray Allen said he felt good enough to practice Thursday and was feeling as good as he has in recent days as he attempts to play with bone spurs in his left ankle.
"Last couple of days, I've been in a really good place so I'm optimistic," Allen said. "If I'm sitting here [Friday] feeling good, that's a different story. I am optimistic about practicing today so that's definitely a great step for me moving forward.
"I do feel good today. I can't say that I don't. I am definitely am practicing today. I'm excited about it, my body's excited and [Paul Pierce] is probably excited. He asks me every day. It's always great when [teammates ask]. I appreciate when you ask because it shows me you care. I'm here every day and I'm trying to be here for you guys. That's about 80-90 percent of me doing everything I can to get back because I know my guys care about me. When they ask, I say, 'Don't ever stop asking because if you stop, that's when I start getting worried.' I'm here for these guys."
Allen has taken cortisone shots in the left ankle to try and cope with the pain and discomfort. Last week, Doc Rivers said Allen didn't respond well but was happy to hear Allen felt good enough to practice Thursday.
"From excitement, knowing that I was in a good place, to frustration," Allen said before Thursday's practice. "You want to be there to help the team. My guys are looking at me saying, 'he's close.' When you know you can't play, you almost feel like you're letting the team down because they need you out there on the floor. So, it's been a range of emotions. Emotionally, you just try to stick to it. It's like I want to be here for the team but sometimes, I have to be away because it's better for me to do what I need to do so I can get healthier and join the team.
"Injuries are tough but I'm in a good place. I'm optimistic."
The Celtics have missed Allen's permeter game, a point underscored when they missed their first 19 3-point shots in the series before Keyon Dooling hit a pair in the third quarter on Tuesday night. The series is tied, 1-1, as it shifts to the Garden for Games 3 and 4 Friday and Sunday nights. For more from Paul Flannery and Mike Petraglia in Waltham, visit the Celtics team page at weei.com/celtics  and the Green Street  blog.