Saturday's practice report: Pierce, Daniels want to play Sunday
The rundown (a quick look at practice headlines)
Pierce, Daniels ready to go; Doc deems them 50/50
- Paul Pierce, Marquis Daniels deem themselves ready to play Sunday vs. Magic
- Doc Rivers suggests both players remain 50/50 and will be game-time decisions
- Team meets with sleep doctor as C's prepare for West Coast trip to open second half
- Rivers encourages players to visit Cabo or Vegas on break to acclimate to time zone
Paul Pierce (left mid-foot sprain) and Marquis Daniels (left thumb) deemed themselves ready for action Sunday when the Orlando Magic visit the TD Garden for a Super Bowl Sunday matinee, but Celtics coach Doc Rivers dubbed both 50/50 and suggested both remain game-time decisions.
Rivers noted that Pierce looked OK walking through drills, but was concerned when he was hesitant during live action. Rivers was more encouraged by Daniels' performance, but might still err on the side of caution and get him another practice or two before bringing him back to game action.
"We didn't do too much [Saturday], we walked over some stuff and did a couple things live," said Rivers. "[Pierce] looked OK, but I'm not sure yet [about playing Sunday]. We'll see how he feels tomorrow. ... I thought he looked good until we ran a couple live plays, then he was a little hesitant. And if he's a hesitant, I'll probably sit him."
Pierce has missed the past two games after suffering a left mid-foot strain when he collided with Caron Butler diving after a loose ball during the first quarter of Monday's win over the Wizards. He admitted he might have been hesitant based on being his first live action since the injury forced him out during the second half of Monday's game.
But, regardless, he says he's ready to play.
"I feel I could have gone last game," said Pierce. "I'm really ready to go, if that's what y'all want to hear."
Pierce said he believes it will ultimately be his decision and, barring the unforeseen, he's ready to play. He said the foot is doing better each day and it's simply the location of the injury that's the most difficult, since he's never experienced a mid-foot sprain.
Pierce did indicate that he'd reevaluate himself after Sunday's game to determine his plan of attack from there. If all goes well, he'll play against New Orleans in the final game before the break, then go to Texas to participate in the All-Star festivities. But if the foot reacts poorly after returning to game action Sunday, he might have to consider another break.
As for Daniels, he's still immersing himself in the playbook, but Rivers suggested he's likely to at least dress for Sunday's game and, if nothing else, could be used in an emergency situation if the coaching staff feels he's healthy enough for action.
"Marquis looked pretty good, actually," said Rivers. "Besides not knowing any of our stuff, he looked OK. ... Marquis played hard, he played normal. He just needs to figure out [the playbook]. I don't know yet on [Daniels and Pierce]. I would say 50/50, probably on both of them right now. Even if Marquis dresses, I'm still not sure he'll play.
"With Marquis, I'd prefer him have a really good practice, that we'd have Monday or Tuesday. But we may dress him and, if we need him, we'll play him."
Daniels didn't draw the full contact he's been seeking, but he gave nothing but positive reports on his thumb, noting the only lingering pain comes during rehab exercises as they break down the scar tissue.
"I think I'm ready," said Daniels. "Hopefully [Sunday] I'm ready to go, whatever minutes I get."
Daniels has missed 28 games since undergoing surgery to repair torn ligaments in his left thumb in early December.
Check out the video above as Doc Rivers offers an injury update on Pierce and Daniels, then breaks down Sunday's matchup vs. the Magic.
Rivers to players: Go to Cabo or Las Vegas for All-Star break
The Celtics met with a sleep doctor near the end of Saturday's practice to review best practices as the team prepares for the All-Star break, then opens the second half with a four-game road trip out west.
Rivers skipped the session, he'd already been briefed on the speech, and had some eyebrow-raising advice for his players.
"We have one advantage, because of the All-Star break, if guys want to do it, they can go out west early. They don't have to go to Sacramento, but they can go to Las Vegas or Cabo," said Rivers, suggesting potential vacation spots before the Celtics open against the Kings on Feb. 16. "At least then they'd be on the same timeframe. That give us the chance to be acclimated."
Rivers told his guys to enjoy the break and doesn't mind if they go have fun in Sin City or a tropical island.
"I don't mind, I told them to go to Vegas, go wherever you want," said Rivers. "Get your mind off of basketball, get on West Coast time. Stay up all night if you want."
The Celtics might not necessarily be flocking west, but they are headed for warmer climes.
Ray Allen noted he'd head to the Bahamas, while Daniels said he's headed home to Orlando (though he'll mix work and pleasure as he continues to rehab). Pierce, Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett are headed to Dallas for the All-Star Game, limiting their potential adventures.
As for Rivers, he's going to Orlando, too, to watch his kids' games.
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