Gerald Wallace said he could have season-ending surgery as early as Tuesday to repair both a torn meniscus in his left knee as well as surgery on his left ankle to clean out bone spurs.
“I’m very disappointed, just the simple fact that the injury, not knowing how long I’ve been playing with it and what was going on,” Wallace said before the Celtics’s 102-97 loss to the Indiana Pacers Saturday night at TD Garden.
“It was just a pain that kind of felt different in my knee. I’m disappointed to end my season this way, just when it felt like I was starting to play at a pretty high level.”
The 31-year-old Wallace, who had been averaging 5.1 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 2.5 assists, recently had an MRI that revealed the injury.
In his 13th season, it will mark Wallace’s first surgery, and he said he’s concerned because it will be on his knee at this point in his career.
He said he had no timetable for a return and that he was told that he should be fine 2-4 months after the surgery, depending on the rehabilitation process.
Wallace said he didn’t consider returning this season. “The team has only 22 games left, it’s not like we’re in a playoff race,” he said.
For his long-term goal, Wallace said, “The main thing is just making sure I get my full strength back. That there’s no issue with it reoccurring again and being prepared to finish my career on a healthy knee.”
When asked to describe his first year as a Celtic, Wallace said, “It’s been great.”
“The experience has been fun,” he added. “Losing [stinks], it always does. I felt like we’re a lot better than what our record shows. We’ve had some ups and downs, some learning curves, not only from the players, but from the coaching staff as well.’’
Wallace said he also hopes he won the fans over, even though he made it clear when he arrived in Boston after being traded from the Brooklyn Nets last summer that he wasn’t interested in joining a rebuilding team.
“I just hope the fans didn’t take offense to me saying I didn’t want to be here as me not wanting to be a part of the organization,” Wallace said. “My main thing was the rebuilding process, I didn’t want to go through a whole rebuilding process where you have to start all over 13 years into my career.”
Ainge to be honored
Speaking on a panel discussion at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck said that he wants to honor Danny Ainge.
“I plan to put his number in the rafters one day for all he’s done,” Grousbeck said. “I think he’s done an amazing job.”
Grousbeck was referring to everything Ainge has done as both a player and, most recently, as the Celtics’ president of basketball operations.
Ainge was drafted by the Celtics in 1981 and won championships in 1984 and 1986, as well as being named an All-Star in 1988.
He was hired to lead the team’s front office in 2003 and helped steer it through a rebuilding phase to its 17th championship in 2008.
Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadive was also on the panel and he and Grousbeck engaged in a rather interesting back-and-forth.
It began with a reference to NBA commissioner Adam Silver being asked earlier in the conference about the New York Knicks not paying property tax on Madison Square Garden.
Grousbeck was asked what he thought of that question, and he gave a politically correct response: “I guess I would say whatever Adam said was correct.”
Ranadive leaned over and said to Grousbeck, “He said that you guys were tanking.”
Grousbeck laughed, then shot back, “And what are you doing?”
The Kings entered the day with a 20-38 record, while the Celtics are 20-40.
Grousbeck added, “If we want to lose games, we absolutely hired the wrong coach. That guy [Brad Stevens] would light himself on fire to win a quarter of a game and he’s been doing it all year.”
A Van Gundy fan
Stevens attended the conference Friday and said he would have preferred to be in the audience rather than on a panel.
“I would enjoy it if it were in the summer and I could take the time just to spend two or three days and listen to everybody talking,” Stevens said. “I’ve been fortunate enough to know [former NBA coach] Stan Van Gundy, but I’d pay to hear him talk every day of the week.”
Stevens was on a panel with the outspoken Van Gundy, who stole the show with his rants against teams that are tanking their seasons for a top lottery pick.
Fond of Madness
March 1, or the first day of college basketball’s March Madness, brought back fond memories for Stevens
His favorite memory? He referenced when his team won an Elite Eight game in 2010 to earn a trip back home to Indianapolis, which was also the site of the Final Four.
“The first one, going back to Indiana, and knowing that you’re going back to Indiana, was about as good as it could get,” he said.
Forward Jared Sullinger returned to the Celtics’ lineup after missing three games with a concussion. Sullinger came off the bench and had 10 points and six rebounds in 25 minutes . . . Former Celtics forward Shavlik Randolph signed with the Phoenix Suns, where ex-Celtics assistant general manager Ryan McDonough is in his first year as the team’s general manager. Randolph made 16 appearances with the Celtics last season, averaging 4.2 points and 4.4 rebounds over 12.4 minutes per game.