BOSTON, NOV. 29 -- It seems redundant to bring this up, but Pervis Ellison's feet are in awful shape. Underneath the big toe on his right foot is the remnant of a blister. And the nail is just starting to grow back from when it came off in training camp.

He dismisses it. "Oh, it's fine," he said this afternoon before the Washington Bullets held a light practice at Hellenic College in preparation for tonight's game with the Atlantic Division-leading Boston Celtics.

Ellison has started to come on lately. Wednesday in Chicago he had a season-high 17 points, showing some of the low-post moves that Coach Wes Unseld has spent almost every Sunday this fall teaching him. And he's grabbed 39 rebounds over the last four games, including a career-high 14 against the Bulls.

Ellison is not a rah-rah guy. He occasionally looks as if he doesn't care. But when you look at his feet, and you realize that he probably shouldn't have played Wednesday, you may think differently.

"Apparently, that's just the way his feet are built," Unseld said. "I asked John {Lally, the trainer}, 'Is he tying his shoes up too tight? Is it his socks?' I've heard all the talk {about Ellison}. But in training camp, when they were worse than that, he tried to play through it until Lally ran him off the floor."

Washington will need Ellison if it's going to have a chance against Boston, which is playing high-level basketball and threatens to run away with the weak division.

Wednesday the Celtics were stopped by a wet floor at Boston Garden, which forced the suspension of a game with Atlanta. The league scheduled the game to resume on Dec. 23 at 1 p.m.; Boston leads, 37-22, in the second quarter.

Celtics officials said the excessive condensation from the hockey ice was a one-time situation. The test will come against the Bullets, since there was a hockey game played in the Garden tonight.

Since the game is going to be continued, all statistics up to the point of suspension count. So Larry Bird now is just six points from reaching the 20,000-point plateau in his career. He will be the fifth player in NBA history -- John Havlicek, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Oscar Robertson and Jerry West are the others -- to have 20,000 points and 5,000 assists.

"I've waited 12 years to do it so a couple of days won't matter," Bird said after the game was suspended.

Boston's decision to start Kevin Gamble at small forward and move Bird to power forward strengthens the Celtics bench, which is led again by Kevin McHale and now also features rookie Dee Brown. It lets Bird do more rebounding, and he no longer has to score 30 points a game.

The Celtics allow Bird to freelance on offense. If he goes to the wing, someone else goes to the middle, and vice versa. Thus, more Celtics score.

"We have a whole lot of quickness on our team," guard Reggie Lewis said. "We've gotten some fastbreak baskets, and in previous years we didn't do that. We try to run as much as we can. We have both options now and we try to utilize them."

Bullets Notes: Guard Ledell Eackles needed four stitches to close a cut under his left eye. He was injured in the first quarter of Wednesday's loss.