Larry Bird, sidelined since undergoing surgery on both heels Nov. 19, said Friday night he's "running out of time" to play again this season but didn't rule it out.
The Boston Celtics' star forward said he's concerned about complicating his condition if he played and conceded he couldn't play up to his usual level.Even though he's not in shape to play without tiring easily, if the club "wanted me to I would," he said. "I don't think if I go out there right now I can really help the team.
"If the Celtics want me to play, I'll go out and play, but they're going to be responsible for everything that happens."
He said his condition has improved in recent weeks.
"I don't know if I'll ever be 100 percent but I feel a lot better than I did before surgery," Bird said before Boston's game Friday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers. "I want to have great years down the road and I want to play this year, but we'll just see what happens in the next couple of weeks.
"It's been a tough year. I had my hopes to come back in March," he said. "Basketball's my life and if I can't go out and perform, it's not fun for me."
Bird had surgery to remove bone spurs that were irritating his Achilles' tendons on both heels. Dr. Arnold Scheller, the Celtics' team physician who participated in the operation, predicted immediately after it ended that Bird would be sidelined 3 1/2 to 4 months, a timetable that would have brought him back in March.
Bird scrimmaged hard with his teammates for the first time after the surgery on March 6. He also scrimmaged on March 7 and 9 but had to sit out the March 10 session because of swelling and discomfort in his right foot.
He hasn't scrimmaged with the team since then.