Gerald Green has left the Celtics to play for the Patriots.

The Fayetteville Patriots, that is. Executive Director of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge announced that the Celtics assigned Green to the NBA Developmental League just before tonight's game against Atlanta. And while the Celtics' NBDL affilliate is technically the Florida Flames, the C's got permission to send him to the Fayetteville, North Carolina team to avoid a logjam at the shooting guard spot on the Florida squad.

While the Celtics see tons of potential in the rookie, the upcoming schedule made finding minutes for Green a tall order. Since he wouldn't be able to find playing time in Boston, and practice time will be limited by the team's hectic travel schedule over the next few weeks, the club decided it was in Green's best interest to get the chance to earn some playing time in the D-League.

"Gerald's development remains one of our top priorities," said Ainge. "He's progressing just as we expected, and we think this is a step in the right direction. This allows Gerald more of an opportunity to continue developing his game."

Green, who's put on more than 18 pounds since arriving, has said in the past that he'd prefer to stay with the Celtics than take an assignment to the D-League, but now he says he feels playing time will be more beneficial.

"I think I've learned tremendously," said Green. "But I think that honestly, I can learn a little more about playing by actually playing instead of just sitting around looking at game tape."

Green has impressed the team's staff with the amount of work he's done off the court to prepare for the NBA, especially how he's added size and strength to his frame. Ainge will be accompanying Green for the first few days of his stay to get a sense of how the process works. Given how new the D-League is to the NBA, there's a bit of an unknown factor in figuring out exactly how an assignment will be handled, and when affiliates are shared by multiple NBA teams, playing time isn't guaranteed. So Green will have to earn his keep, so to speak.

While there's no timetable for how long Green will remain in Fayetteville, Ainge stressed that the move is an opportunity and not a demotion for Green.

"The most important thing is for Gerald to go down there with the right attitude," said Ainge. "It's an opportunity to develop and I think Gerald does have the right attitude about it. Go down there and earn your minutes and show that you belong."

Fans hoping to catch Green in action can check NBA TV, which is broadcatsing several D-League games throughout the year. The MLK Showcase tournament is being held in Fayetteville January 15-16 and Green figures to get in on the action.

Allen debuts in loss

Tony Allen made his season debut Friday night, but he certainly didn't expect to play nearly 30 minutes. While Allen's timing looked a bit off in the early goings -- he dribbled the ball off his leg on what would have been an apparent breakaway dunk in the first half -- he got better as the game wore on and finished with 9 points and 7 rebounds, impressive marks for a guy who's waited a long time -- and through many "false starts" -- to return to action.

"it was just all adrenaline. That's what I played on tonight," said Allen. "First day back after a lot of weeks off, I'm not looking back now. I just want to stay aggressive, play with intensity. I did a little bit, but I've still got to get better."

Allen was nearly activated for Wednesday night's game but ended up holding out for tonight. He plans to be ready to play tomorrow night in Washington but isn't sure how his knee will respond.

"We'll see how it reacts tomorrow after the flight," said Allen. "When I get up in the morning, if it doesn't swell, I'm good to go for tomorrow."

The Doc was out - and back in

The question flying around the FleetCenter in the third quarter: What happened to Doc?

Most of the team's front office staff around the building was wondering the same thing. Rivers had "flu-like symptoms" and commented after the game that he wasn't sick, but was getting dizzy late in the second quarter, and left the court because he was afraid he could faint.

"I didn't want that distraction, so I figured I'd get on out of there," said Rivers.

Rivers returned to the bench to finish the game but he leaned on Assistant Coach Tony Brown, who guided the team during his brief absence from the sideline. Rivers said that he's fine and added that he will be on the bench for Saturday's game against the Wizards in D.C.