Rivers would not definitively rule Pierce out, but the Celtics captain did not practice Wednesday because Rivers did not want to risk the thumb taking a hit.
"I'm not going to say definitely but most likely not [Thursday]," Rivers said. "We'll just evaluate it day to day. We didn't want to take the chance of him getting hit on his thumb in practice, so that if he feels good [Thursday], he can go. If not, we'll wait. We've got [games] Thursday and then Saturday, then a two-day break, so we'll just go a game at a time."
The injury occurred in the first half of a win over the Lakers last Thursday. He sat out Tuesday's game against the Knicks to allow the injury time to heal, while also enduring a bout with the flu. Marquis Daniels started in place of Pierce Tuesday, scoring 14 points, including a pivotal layup in the final minutes to seal a 110-106 triumph at the TD Garden.
Daniels, however, also missed practice on Wednesday due to illness and is a game-time decision against the Cavs Thursday. Rivers said he "looked awful" when he showed up so the team sent him home. "We'll see [Thursday]. If [Pierce and Daniels can't play], I have no idea right now. We'll figure it out."
The absence of Pierce and Daniels is troubling as the Celtics don't boast much depth at the 3 -- Ray Allen and Tony Allen are probably more natural shooting guards -- and Rivers went so far as to suggest newcomer Marcus Landry could get some time guarding James (a challenge the rookie forward said Wednesday he'd covet).
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.