With the image of Tony Allen's season ending crash to the ground still in my mind, there is a solemn tone to today's news articles. First is a morning update on Tony and Scal from the Herald Insider. Early news is that as expected, Tony tore his ACL and will miss the rest of the season. The news on Scal is that he may just have a bruise or a sprain rather than a tear. Hopefully it will keep him out long enough for Powe to get some quality minutes.
Moving right along, you will find reports on the game in the Herald, Globe, Projo, and Worcester Telegram. Although, most of the game reports center on who is not playing rather than who was. With the latest injuries, there are just 9 players available for duty. In every report, the loss of Tony Allen overshadows the loss of the game. Even after Tony went down, the young Celtics didn't give up, though. In the 4th quarter, a unit of Sebastian Telfair, Kendrick Perkins, Gerald Green, Leon Powe and Ryan Gomes went on a 14-0 run, cutting the Indiana margin to 84-80 with 4:27 left. But Indiana was just too strong and took the game over from there on. But this run and the play of these young guys does give hope for the future.
The Herald Notebook centers on all the injury news from yesterday. West sat out practice and couldn't go last night. Wally reports just before game time unable to go. Over compensating for the two unhealed sprained ankles have caused his surgically repaird knee to swell and he needs to sit 1-2 weeks. Perk and Al started together last night and were successful in their time together but whether Perk or Gomes starts will depend on matchups in future games.
Matt Kalman has a piece in the Herald that reports that the Celtics 3 leading scorers are out of action right now with Pierce, Wally and Tony all injured. The Celtics will be looking to some very young players to carry the scoring load now, especially Green and Jefferson and hopefully they will respond.
The Globe Notebook also centers on the injury news. The news on Pierce wasn't good after re-evaluation, either. He will need to keep the protective boot on for at least another week or two instead of getting it off this week as originally hoped. West is talking about trying to play against the Raptors but he is really hurting and so Doc is taking that with a grain of salt. Delonte is a warrior, but needs to heal so that he doesn't do permanent damage while trying to play in pain. Green went for a career high in minutes and once again Powe was a force in limited minutes.
Eric Weiss has a good article on CelticsBlog that takes a look at the emotional toll that losing Tony Allen took on the team. Tony was the emotional leader and was playing the best basketball of his career. He was the defensive captain and when he went down, the collective air went out of the team. Celtics.com tells us that even though the Celtics were down after Tony's injury, they played with heart and have vowed to stick together and are stressing the need for unity, especially now. Al sees this as a test from the "basketball gods" and is determined to stick together and get through it as a team.
The Projo Notebook reports that all of the injuries have put the Celtics in M*A*S*H mode. It wasn't flu symptoms as originally reported that sidelined Gomes in the Orlando game. It was food poisoning from some seafood he ate. Gomes feels that the Celtics are stronger from playing without Pierce:
"We're not looking over our shoulder any more," said Gomes. "A lot of guys are being more aggressive. If we sharpen up our attack mentally when he comes back the (opposing) defense will have to play even more guys honestly."
There is that silver lining again. It has to be some kind of a record, but the Celtics started 4 players who came to the pros directly from high school last night when they started Perk, Al, Telfair and Green alongside Tony Allen. At 24 (he turns 25 today), Tony was the oldest player in our starting lineup that averaged just 22 years old. On the other hand, the youngest player in the Pacers' starting 5 was 26. Doc once again promises to play Green more with both Pierce and Wally out. This is a good thing.
The Celtics don't play today and their practice will be an important one as the team will be regrouping after learning that they will be without Tony, Wally, and Scal for an extended period and without West for at least a game or 2. With this group, I don't see them giving up, but will regroup and pull together. They may not win, but they will go down fighting.