NEW YORK - Just a few hours after Ray Allen said he was ready to play in Tuesday night’s showdown with the Knicks, the Celtics guard was a late scratch when his troublesome right ankle swelled up again.
Allen has missed the past five games and 16 overall this season with ankle issues, and the late scratch this time surprised coach Doc Rivers, who had begun formulating plays for Allen.
Allen participated in shootaround Tuesday and told reporters that he was ready to return. But he returned to his hotel after the workout and felt the same discomfort that has plagued him the past few days.
He said he is unsure whether he will play Wednesday night against the Magic at TD Garden.
“As far as the movement and mobility . . . it wasn’t to my liking,’’ Allen said before the Celtics’ 118-110 loss to the Knicks. “I couldn’t get the pushing off that I wanted so I’ve got to let it kind of relax a little bit more before I get back out there.’’
For the most part, Allen has been durable during his time with the Celtics, so the past two weeks have been a source of frustration.
“Two days ago, I shot and I ran the treadmill, and when I came down from it, I felt very good,’’ he said. “Yesterday was a day I had to heal and I didn’t have much to do. I was excited about coming in and feeling that lift and that spring.
“Today, for some reason, it wasn’t there.
“I think that is the disappointment, that it lingers towards frustration because I’ve been doing what I need to do to get back, so I guess my ankle is saying, ‘Hey, I’m not ready yet, gotta take more time.’ ’’
The Celtics are still trying to secure the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference, so the games are meaningful.
“I want to play,’’ Allen said. “I want to do what I can to get in that rhythm with my body and pushing myself through the rigors of early-morning preparation and getting ready for the game.
“I just go through the same routine because I don’t want my body to get out of the sequence of games. However my ankle feels, I just gotta get ready for it.’’
Rivers said, “I was asked today if I was concerned by it. I’m not, but we gotta make sure we have him. At the end of the day, we need everyone.’’
Pietrus out, too
Rivers said he sent swingman Mickael Pietrus back to Boston for further examination after his right knee swelled following three games in three nights.
Pietrus had arthroscopic surgery last July on the right knee, which caused him to miss the final months of the 2010-11 season and the first two weeks of this season.
Recently, Pietrus missed 10 games with a Grade 3 concussion but returned to play heavy minutes the past week.
“You kind of forget he had been out for so long and we threw him back in the fire,’’ Rivers said. “We’ll see what happens when we get back.’’
Rest is best
The Knicks and 76ers are battling the Bucks for the final two playoff spots. Milwaukee entered Tuesday two games behind New York and Philadelphia and likely needs to win out to make the playoffs.
The Celtics face Milwaukee at home April 26, the final night of the season, and Rivers said he has no issue with resting his starters regardless of the significance of the game for other clubs.
“I’m going to do what’s good for our team,’’ he said. “Listen, you play 66 games to have the ability to make a choice on how you want to play your team. And the other team had 66 games to put themselves in whatever position they put themselves in.
“I would say if things break as we hope, we can [win] a couple of games here, we can rest guys before then and play them that game just to get rhythm. So it may not be a factor.’’
Knicks coach Mike Woodson said Amar’e Stoudemire could return Friday, and if so, he would start, despite the Knicks’ success with their current starting lineup. Stoudemire has missed the past 12 games with a bulging disk in his lower back. The same issue cost him the final three games of the first-round playoff series last April against the Celtics . . . The Magic will be without Dwight Howard for Wednesday night’s game. He will miss the remainder of the regular season with a herniated disk in his back . . . In addition to landing hard on his tailbone during the third quarter, Rajon Rondo was icing his right wrist during timeouts, the same wrist that cost him 10 games in January. He said he tweaked the wrist driving to the basket on the second play of the game.Gary Washburn can be reached at email@example.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @gwashNBAGlobe.