"I kinda sprained it this morning, then I aggravated it today in the game," said Pierce. "I’m glad we were able to get a win like this, give me some rest. We'll get me a couple days off, I can get some treatment and hopefully it feels good on Tuesday."
Boston engaged in a light walk-through Sunday morning, but still nearly lost Pierce. He then aggravated the injury when he banged knees with Atlanta's Josh Smith with 5:45 to play in the first half. He returned to play the first 3½ minutes of the third quarter and helped Boston open a 35-point lead before calling it a night. Pierce spent some time on the exercise bike courtside, then returned to the locker room in the fourth quarter for treatment.
"I kind of tripped over someone’s foot, turned the knee [in shootaround]," said Pierce. "I had to sit around the last half of shootaround and, tonight, I just kind of re-aggravated it when I came up off the double screen with Josh Smith there. It’s a little bit sore right now, so Doc just wanted to take precautions tonight, especially when we had such a big lead. That allowed me to go back in the fourth quarter, get treatment and rest for the next couple days."
Move over Ray Allen, Avery Bradley and Greg Stiemsma, we're adding Paul Pierce (knee) and Mickael Pietrus (hamstring) to the front of Eddie Lacerte's treatment line.
Pierce takes priority, because without him… (nevermind, I won't go there). The sprain was serious enough that Doc Rivers didn't believe Paul would be able to play last night. Pierce recovered and looked injury-free until colliding with Josh Smith in the 2nd quarter.
Pierce's body language didn't signal serious injury. He returned in the 3rd quarter and sported a smile while riding the stationary bike. Pierce thinks he'll be fine (message relayed in late night tweet) and so do I.
Consider the Celtics lucky. All of their injuries are of the day-to-day variety. Did you see what happened to the Knicks Baron Davis?
Related links: Globe – Knee injury couldn't keep Pierce off floor | Rivers hoping for healthier outlook | CSNNE – Health concerns mount for C's | Herald – Truth be told, he'll be ready | WEEI – Pierce thinks knee will be fine
On Page 2, Josh Smith says the Celtics are playing way more harder.
“They shot the mess out of it tonight,” said Hawks forward Josh Smith, who returned from the left knee injurythat kept him out of Game 3. “I’m watching it and being real observant when I’m on the bench. They’re just running the plays way more harder than we are. Whatever play is called, you know, Ray Allen is running off screens 100 miles per hour, Paul Pierce is finding a way to get open, the bigs are setting screens, getting the guards open.
“We have to try to duplicate what they do,” added Smith. “We have to try to get open. They’re trying so hard for Joe[Johnson] not to catch the ball. They’re being real physical with him, so we have to be able to match their physicality and be able to try to return the favor a little bit, see if they like it and stop being so passive.”
This quote from Josh Smith makes me tingly inside.
The rest of the links:
CSNNE – Celtics find their 3 point stroke | ESPN Boston – Rondo among elite playoff guards | Bradley shoulders on in Game 4 | Celtics haven't closed curtains yet (Jackie) | Herald – Celtics swoop in for kill | Celtics mean business | Avery Bradley back in action | Hawks down, not out | Globe – Smith, Horford return | Late takeoff by Hawks | C's in control, but not all the way there | Right from start, C's could do no wrong (Ryan) | WEEI – Opportunity arrives for Celtics
Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images