Celtics' Pierce hopes to play Sunday against Magic

Published February 04, 2010

| AP

WALTHAM, Mass. (AP) — Boston Celtics scoring leader Paul Pierce hopes to return from an injured left foot Sunday against the Magic.

Pierce, who was hurt in Monday in a 99-88 win at the Washington Wizards, could return against Orlando after missing just two games with a strained left foot.

Pierce watched from the bench in street clothes Wednesday night as the Celtics beat the Miami Heat 107-102. He is not expected to play when Boston plays its second of three consecutive home games Friday night against the New Jersey Nets.

"I can walk on it," he said Thursday after sitting out practice. "It's just a basic mid-foot sprain. It's not the end of the world. I've had worse injuries, to tell you the truth. And the good thing about it is I didn't have to go into a boot. I'm still walking around on it. It's just about the pain going away. It's a sprain, but it's not the worst sprain I've ever had."

Pierce was hurt when Washington's Caron Butler fell on him. Pierce also missed five games from Dec. 25 to Jan. 2 with a right knee infection.

"He wasn't going to do anything today," Boston coach Doc Rivers said. "He may do a shootaround tomorrow and we'll evaluate. But right now, I'm pretty sure he's not going to play" Friday.

Pierce, averaging 18.9 points, said the foot is improving daily.

"It's tough," Pierce said of sitting out. "I know the most important thing for me right now is just to get healthy. As a younger player, I might have pushed it too much, and who knows if I might have made the injury even worse."

Pierce, 32, was chosen as a reserve on the Eastern Conference team in the NBA All-Star game Feb. 14 and said even if he can't play, he will participate in the 3-point shooting contest.

"I think I'll be fine in that," he said. "I was told a couple of days ago that I would be participating in it. It's a great part of All-Star weekend. You have so many memories: Larry Bird winning the contest years ago; Ray Allen winning the contest.

"I plan on getting sleep, I plan on practicing for it and I plan on winning."

Backup guard Marquis Daniels returned to practice Thursday after missing 27 games with a thumb injury that required surgery. Rivers said he doubts Daniels will play Friday.

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