The veteran guard says he is targeting Friday night for his return after missing 21 games because of a grade 2 left wrist sprain. He also is expecting to be in a
Allen all but dismissed his inclusion in reported trade talks between
"I just look at is as rumors. That's all it is," Allen said Wednesday before practice. "I haven't thought about it too much. ... I've never been a part of trade rumors. It was shocking at first, but then I thought about it and said 'it's a business.'
"I've put in the work, and it ain't a bad thing to be wanted. If anything changes, I understand that it's a business. But I've made a name here. This is where I want to be. This ain't the first time somebody's name been put in trade rumors so there's nothing special about me. I say that kind of sarcastically. I love being here. This is where my heart is at. This is where I've made a name for myself. I can't imagine myself being in no other arena getting ready for a game than with the
The Griz had no imminent deals pending as of late Wednesday.
Sources with knowledge of the team's thinking insist that the Griz never considered shipping Allen to the
Allen contends that his focus this week has been squarely on playing Friday against the
"I want to play in that game," Allen said. "I'm dribbling with my hand and doing a lot of movement. That's a plus. I'm making strides in strengthening my hand. I was timid and scared to reinjure it in my first practice (on Monday). There were opportunities I had to swipe down at the ball and I refused to do it.
"I actually felt I needed to get in better shape after missing 20 games. My wind was down. I wasn't able to lift dumbbells and lift weights. I felt my strength needed to be better. But I'm going all out these next two practices."
Allen participated in a full-contract practice Wednesday -- just his second since suffering the wrist injury
"Hopefully he gets two good days of practice," Joerger said. "He just needs confidence to reach in there in traffic whether it is for a loose ball or a rebound or putting his hand on a body. He wants to keep playing lively and get comfortable. He wants to be out there. I don't think he had any intention of being out this long. He's frustrated. He's a competitor. I know that when he does come back it's going to be a big shot in the arm for us."
Allen has mostly worked out with the second unit, giving credence to the coaching staff's desire to bring their defensive dynamo off the bench. Joerger said he's wrestled with the best way to re-integrate Allen into the rotation, weighing multiple lineup combinations. However, Allen took the pressure off whether it's a requirement for him to immediately return to the starting lineup.
"I really believe that the team is doing a good job in playing how they're playing. So it doesn't matter to me whether I come off the bench or start," Allen said. "Obviously, I've made a name for myself doing what I do. I wouldn't mind being a stopper off the bench or starting. I really don't want to be disruptive, honestly. I just want to fit in. There are a lot of things I need to worry about with getting my body in shape as opposed to starting or coming off the bench. I'll be out there giving 100 percent trying to find my niche again."
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