Celtics captain Paul Pierce held a rare confab with the media before Wednesday's game, but deemed himself in fine shape after running a gauntlet of injuries (knee, foot, thumb) over the past two-plus months.
“It’s been frustrating,” said Pierce. “You never want to sit out any games, but it’s been that kind of a season. It’s been nothing really major, other than the [knee-draining] surgeries [in December], and those were minor compared to the surgeries that other guys have been through. Then I came back and sprained my [left mid-foot] and sprained my [right thumb]. It’s been an up-and-down season for me as far as injuries.
“It’s a little difficult. You get into a good, comfortable groove, then you sit out a couple of weeks. Then you get into a groove and you sit out a couple of weeks. It’s like going to the race, then starting and stopping, starting and stopping. How do you expect to win when you do that? You have to get into a comfortable pace, especially in a long-distance race.”
Pierce tied his own injury troubles to the inconsistent play of the Celtics this season. He's hoping the Celtics find their groove and establish a comfortable pace to the finish line after plenty of starts and stops of their own.
"We've got to do a better job of establishing something at home," said Pierce. "I was looking at the standings and we have the best road team in basketball, tied for it [with Cleveland] and I'm thinking, 'Man, if took care of business [at home], we'd be the best team in the NBA, record-wise.' That’s crazy to me when you look at it like that. So we've definitely got to do a better job of winning at home, regardless if it's a blowout or just winning. We're like the second-worst team at home in the top eight [in the Eastern Conference]. If we can take care of home, we'd be right back in business. We need better focus, better concentration, like we do on the road."
Knock on wood, Pierce said he feels great entering the home stretch of the season.
"I feel pretty good right now, to tell you the truth," said Pierce. "It's the best I’ve felt for a few weeks. I expect to get into a groove now. My body feels great and I'm ready."
Perkins back in; Rivers lauds Scalabrine and Williams
Celtics coach Doc Rivers said center Kendrick Perkins would be back in the lineup Wednesday night against the Bobcats after missing Tuesday's game in Detroit due to illness. Perkins was spotted in line for the pregame spread in the media workroom, suggesting his appetite is back.
"He looks like he's doing pretty well," said Rivers. "It looks like he's feeling good."
Rivers joked that he wasn't sure how to feel about having his full complement of players available, a rarity this season. He did note that it wasn't hard to relegate guys like Shelden Williams and Brian Scalabrine back to the end of the bench, but heaped praise on what they've been able to give this injury-riddled team.
"We have two guys that epitomize professionalism in Shelden Williams and Scal," said Rivers. "Shelden, when Baby [Glen Davis] was out [to start the season] stepped in and played terrific. Scal plays whenever you call on him. Both are always ready. That's what you want on your team, at the end of the bench, and we have that."
As for dealing with injuries, Rivers admitted it makes little sense for him to worry about it.
"There's just nothing you can do about it, so I don't worry about it, and I don't give it a lot of thought," said Rivers. "You play who's in uniform. It's great to have them in the game, but it's more important to go a stretch of practices with the full group. To me, that's far more important."