The Boston Celtics already thin front-court may have even less depth on Christmas Day, as the Green Team travels to MSG to take on the New York Knicks in the opening game of the 2011-2012 NBA regular season. According to the “Boston Globe” the club could be without starting forward Paul Pierce, who missed both preseason contests with a sore right heel; and the team is uncertain of his status for the game on Sunday.
Celtics head coach Doc Rivers told reporters that the 34-year-old All-Star forward is in severe pain since going full-bore in a practice on Monday. The Celtics bench boss said “It’s a heel bruise; he went real hard and it just really got real sore so we just want him to rest. The problem with that is it will be a lot of rest and he may be ready but with no play, that’s scary. It wasn’t really a test: he went out and did some one-on-one work with some of the guys and the heel got extremely sore.”
The player who would have been Pierce’s primary backup; Jeff Green has been lost for the season after undergoing surgery to repair a defective heart-valve. If Pierce cannot give it a go on Sunday, then veteran reserve swingman Marquis Daniels would get the start with Sasha Pavlovic as his backup for the game. Rivers told media members that although the long-term future looks good for his club; he is worried about the opening of the campaign. Rivers said “I’m concerned not long-term, I’m concerned short-term. We have those two games right off the bat and really he’s had one practice, that’s it.”
Boston has two tough contests to open the regular season; after playing the Knicks on Sunday, they travel to South Beach to take on the Miami Heat. Rivers would far prefer to have Pierce guarding the Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony and the Heat’s LeBron James then trying to have Daniels match-up against the pair.