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Ray Allen's Ankles An Issue

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Scott Souza reports:

Nearly 10 months after undergoing double-ankle surgery to remove bone spurs and scar tissue last April - and seven months after proclaiming the ankles "perfect" following his draft night trade from Seattle to Boston - Allen revealed that the road back to full health has been a lot longer and more painful than the 32-year-old ever admitted.

"When I left (Seattle) the doctor there told me that he didn't want me to go to training camp and he didn't want me to play back-to-back (nights) starting the season off," Allen said. "The team had a relationship with the trainers, and the doctor, so they knew what the prognosis was - that I would have to ease into it.

"But then when I was traded, with all the excitement and everything that I was doing, I just came here getting ready to play a season. There was no way I was going to come in and say, 'I can't play. I am not going to training camp.' And then, 'I'm not playing back-to-backs.' I was just going to take it day-by-day and see how I felt."

For the most part, Allen felt reasonably well - at least, well enough to keep practicing and playing. But watching one of the more prolific scorers in NBA history struggle with his shot virtually all season, there was lingering concern that it was more than just a prolonged slump.

Allen was well aware of the cause.

"I just didn't want to talk about it," he said. "I knew it was going to be an issue, so I didn't want to bring it up."

I can't say this is all that surprising but this is all about that fine line that athletes have to walk between "playing through pain" and doing more harm than good to their body and the team.  Allen claims that he's doing better, but since he was less than forthcoming before, can we really trust him to tell the whole truth now?

Allen said he has finally started to round into form in recent weeks. Though he was forced to sit for another couple of days three weeks ago with a pinched nerve in the back of his neck, and missed Tuesday's game in Miami with a virus that prevented him from eating for two days, overall he claims to be healthier than at any time since last season.

"I've felt good, but I've still had slight problems with my ankles and trying to move forward," he said. "That's just with the soreness in them. It just hurts me a little bit.

"Just in the last week I have been able to get back fit with my body. In between practices, I have been working on my power stuff - getting in there, exploding to the rim, dunking with both hands like I know I am capable of doing. I've been getting my legs back underneath me and that carries over to my jump shot."

This is something that I think I'll be watching more closely in the future.