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Archive for Saturday, June 7, 2008

Celtics’ Pierce says he’ll play Sunday

Boston star’s right knee still ‘tender,’ but has no structural damage

June 7, 2008

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— Paul Pierce heard a pop and had a thought.

His NBA Finals, in a wisp and a crash, were over. An arena and this city collectively leaned in the same direction.

Despite Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson hinting otherwise, Pierce says he was aching, not faking, when he went down in the third quarter of the NBA Finals Game 1 against the Lakers because of a sprained right knee.

Enough so that if there had been a game Friday, Pierce said he would have been on the sidelines watching. Instead he, along with the rest of the Boston Celtics, took the day off to watch video, soaking up their victory and looking to heal fast.

"I think there's a great chance I'll play on Sunday, just knowing myself, knowing my threshold for pain," Pierce said of his odds in playing in Game 2 of the Finals.

Pierce scored 15 of his 22 points in the third quarter, the points flanked by the injury. He bumped into teammate Kendrick Perkins at the 6:49 point, was carried off the court and returned less than two minutes later.

"It was crazy to me because I've never been carried off the court, and it was like, man, I said, 'I have to be close to death or blood everywhere for me to get carried off,'" Pierce said, adding that he took four Advils.

"It was sort of embarrassing, truthfully. I should have just laid there for five more minutes and then got up. Hopefully it won't happen again. If I get carried off the next time, there's no way I'm going to come back."

Celtics coach Doc Rivers said there was no structural damage in Pierce's knee.

"He didn't have to tell me a lot," Rivers said Friday. "I talked to him, though, and just watching him walk, you can see he's : It's tender, it's still, it's swollen a little bit."

Pierce will receive two or three treatments on the knee a day leading up to Sunday.

He acknowledged that the injury "could be bad," but that he will wait until the series ends to have an MRI performed on it.

"I mean, what is it really going to tell us?" he said. "The extent of the injury, but at this point with two weeks left, six games to go, we can figure this out after the season."

Perkins, the Celtics starting center who is more a space eater than scorer, was also among the Celtics attending to his ailments Friday.

He rolled his ankle in the third quarter and told Rivers he was about 60 percent at the time. How he exactly reached that percentage, Rivers isn't sure.

All the same, it hadn't improved much over an evening, but Perkins still expects to play in Game 2.

"You know, there's going to be pain," he said. "It's the Finals, so you've got to suck it up."

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