Orlando, Fla The Boston Celtics don’t expect Paul Pierce back any time soon.
Pierce was in so much pain from a right knee infection that the All-Star forward called team trainer Ed Lacerte on Wednesday around 3 a.m, coach Doc Rivers said. Lacerte went to Pierce’s house and took him to the hospital, where they drained fluid from Pierce’s knee.
Pierce didn’t make the flight to Orlando for the Christmas Day game against the Magic. He is expected to miss at least two weeks.
“What he’s going through is pretty significant,” Celtics guard Ray Allen said. “It is serious. Because me knowing Paul, he’s always practicing and he’s always playing, so for him not to be here, it must be very significant.”
The injury surprised the Celtics.
The 2008 NBA finals MVP had played in every game this season, leading the team with an average of 18.2 points. Pierce complained of soreness in his knee after Tuesday night’s game, when he missed his first 10 shots against the Indiana Pacers but wound up scoring 21 points in the win.
The team left the arena thinking he was fine.
“It’s amazing, he won the game for us the night before and he woke up in the middle of the night hurting,” Rivers said.
The Celtics are on a six-day, four-game road trip that will also take them to the Clippers, Golden State Warriors and Phoenix Suns before returning home for a Jan. 2 game against Toronto. Rivers said it was doubtful Pierce would join them on the trip.
The good news for Boston: Kevin Garnett said he will play against Orlando after missing the last game with a thigh bruise.
Garnett was out because of knee injuries in last season’s Eastern Conference semifinals against the Magic, who eliminated the then-defending NBA champions in seven games.
Arenas stored firearms
Washington — Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas stored unloaded firearms in a container in his locker, according to the team, and the NBA is looking into the situation.
The Wizards issued a statement Thursday night saying there was no ammunition in the locked container, and Arenas and the team have notified authorities and the league.
Arenas told The Washington Times he took his guns to the Verizon Center after his daughter, Hamiley Penny, was born this month. About a week later, he said he handed them over to team security to give to police.
“I wouldn’t have brought them to D.C. had I known the rules,” Arenas told the newspaper. “After my daughter was born, I was just like, ‘I don’t need these anymore.’”
Arenas was suspended for Washington’s season opener in 2004 because he failed to maintain proper registration of a handgun while living in California in 2003. Arenas formerly played for the Golden State Warriors.
Przybilla out for season
Portland, Ore. — Trail Blazers center Joel Przybilla had surgery Thursday to repair his ruptured right patella tendon. Przybilla is expected to miss the rest of the season after hurting his leg during Portland’s 85-81 victory at Dallas on Tuesday night. He went up for a rebound and came down awkwardly with 3:12 left in the first quarter.
Przybilla averaged 4.1 points, 7.9 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 30 games.
The Blazers have been beset by so many injuries this season that the NBA granted the team an exemption to carry 16 players on its roster.
Portland also is without center Greg Oden (left knee), forwards Nicolas Batum (shoulder), Travis Outlaw (left foot) and Rudy Fernandez (back), and rookies Patrick Mills (right foot) and Jeff Pendergraph (hip).
Two-time All-Star Brandon Roy has a strained left shoulder and is questionable for Portland’s Christmas night game against the Denver Nuggets.
USC’s McKnight returns
San Francisco — Southern California tailback Joe McKnight rejoined the Trojans for practice Thursday after missing their early preparations for the Emerald Bowl.
McKnight still hasn’t been cleared by the school to play against Boston College on Saturday night, but coach Pete Carroll was optimistic he’ll be available. USC is investigating whether McKnight violated rules by using an SUV that doesn’t belong to him.
McKnight practiced with the Trojans in Los Angeles on Monday, but stayed home to deal with compliance issues when the Trojans traveled to San Francisco. Carroll said McKnight arrived in the Bay Area on Wednesday night.
Nats, Capps reach deal
Washington — Reliever Matt Capps reached a preliminary agreement early Thursday on a $3.5 million, one-year contract with the Washington Nationals. Capps can earn an additional $425,000 in performance bonuses for games finished under the deal, which was reached about 12:30 a.m. The pitcher’s agent, Paul Kinzer, said the agreement is subject to a physical that will take place in the first week of January.
The 26-year-old Capps became a free agent this month when the Pirates decided not to offer him a contract for 2010. The right-hander earned 27 saves last season, while going 4-8 with a 5.80 earned-run average. He struck out 46 batters in 541⁄3 innings.
Angels add reliever Rodney
Anaheim, Calif. — Reliever Fernando Rodney has signed a two-year, $11 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels. The 32-year-old right-hander spent his first seven major-league seasons with the Detroit Tigers, including the last two years as their closer. He converted 37 of 38 save opportunities last season, pitching a career-best 752⁄3 innings. The Angels lost free-agent reliever Darren Oliver to the Texas Rangers on Wednesday.
A’s, Duchscherer agree
Right-hander Justin Duchscherer has reached a preliminary agreement on a one-year contract that would keep him with the Oakland Athletics, a person with knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press on Thursday.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the agreement has not been finalized. Duchscherer’s deal is pending a physical, so an announcement by the team might not come until after Christmas.
Raiders’ Lawton suspended
Alameda, Calif. — Oakland Raiders fullback Luke Lawton has been suspended four games without pay by the NFL for violating the league’s policy against performance enhancing substances.
The 29-year-old Lawton, who has played in 13 games with three starts this season, will miss the Raiders’ final two games this season and lose nearly $63,000 in pay. A free agent next year, he would also have to sit out the first two games of the 2010 regular season with whatever team he signs with.
Haynesworth, Jacobs fined
New York — Washington Redskins defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth has been fined $10,000 by the NFL, and New York Giants running back Brandon Jacobs has been hit for $7,500.
The players were fined Thursday for an altercation late in New York’s 45-12 victory at Washington. Haynesworth struck Jacobs after a play ended and Jacobs struck back.
Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall also was involved, but was not fined.
Sportscaster Michael dies
Washington — George Michael, a mainstay on the Washington, D.C., sports television scene for decades who reached a national audience with “The George Michael Sports Machine” highlights show, has died. He was 70 years old.