Celtics captain Paul Pierce suffered a shoulder stringer on the same shoulder he tweaked in Sunday's loss to the San Antonio Spurs, chasing him from practice Tuesday and leaving him questionable for Wednesday's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
According to coach Doc Rivers, Pierce got hit on a back pick and went down clutching the same right shoulder that the captain dubbed "sore" after getting fouled by Manu Ginobili in the third quarter of Sunday's game.
"He got hurt again today -- the same thing, a stinger, with the same exact reaction," said Rivers. "It looked worse today... I guess a stinger will be fine. You get concerned with two in a row -- a game and a practice -- the exact same thing. He got hit and went down.
"The good news is that it's not a shoulder separation or anything. Worse case, he misses a game or two. That's not all bad. You'd rather have him, but at least it's not a lower body injury."
Rivers didn't appoint a potential replacement for Pierce, joking that, "I haven't given it much though, maybe me." Marquis Daniels, whose struggled as of late, would seem to be the favorite to replace Pierce, and he worked with the first unit during the latter part of practice, but the Celtics will wait to make that decision.
Pierce has missed 10 games this season with a hodgepodge of injuries, including a right knee infection, sprained left midfoot, and a sprained right thumb.
Pierce departed Sunday's game shortly after the injury (he stayed in to attempt two free throws, missing the first), but refused examination from trainer Ed Lacerte and soon re-entered the game. He finished with a team-high 18 points (only five of which came after the injury).
"It’s a little sore," Pierce said after the game. "It's a stinger -- I've got some numbness down the right side of my arm, but hopefully it doesn’t get any worse."
Pierce finished 4-of-11 shooting that night, missing all three 3-pointers he attempted, and generating 10 of his points at the charity stripe. It was only the second game in his last six that he's been held below 22 points.
Perkins returns to practice, ready to play vs. Thunder
Celtics center Kendrick Perkins returned to practice Tuesday and deemed himself ready to play Wednesday night against Oklahoma City.
Perkins sat out two games (and a practice) last week in hopes of preventing the tendinitis in his left knee from worsening, which afforded him nearly a full week off. He gave a positive report after Tuesday's session, while noting there was lingering stiffness.
"I felt alright, I thought I played pretty good at practice today," said Perkins. "My knee felt better. I'm looking forward to going out there and playing [Wednesday].
"There's a little bit [of stiffness]. It's probably something I'll have to deal with the rest of the season. I'll continue to get treatment, continue to come in at night and get that treatment."
Perkins also admitted he's been battling the tendinitis for as much as two months before he finally took the advice of Rivers and the training staff and shut it down for the week. Perkins begrudgingly noted the injury has likely affected his game.
"I can't get up and block shots like I want to, I can't get up for the rebounds," said Perkins. "But I'm out there, so I gotta get the job done. I'm not making excuses, but I think it has [affected his play] in a way."
While the Celtics certainly missed Perkins' presence the past two games, Rasheed Wallace, who started in his place both games, noted after Sunday's loss that, "Our main thing is to get Perk healthy. Take a couple games off, lay off them knees for a minute, and come back with fresh legs."
Draw it up: C's close practice by drawing up plays
The Celtics closed out Tuesday's practice with players designing plays on a whiteboard to run in 5-on-5 sets. Glen Davis drew up the last one, dipping into Rivers' own playbook for his call, and it worked with Michael Finley draining a 3-pointer from the top of the key over the first-teamers (leading to a mini-celebration by the reserves).
"I had each guy draw up a play," said Rivers. "[Davis] might have been the smartest, he drew up one of mine. He knew it would get him out of practice and maybe more minutes [in games]. Some plays were doozies, but some were pretty good."
Rivers noted he does the exercise a few times each year and sometimes gets unexpected results.
"Players are on the floor, they see stuff," said Rivers. "Gabe Pruitt drew something up two years ago and it's something we still run."
Pruitt, a member of the 2007-08 championship team, appeared in 62 games over two seasons for the Celtics after being tabbed in second round of the 2007 draft. He generated little in terms of production (2 points, 0.8 assists per game) before his NBA career ended, but his legacy, evidently, lives on in Boston.