Paul Pierce still feeling neck pain

WALTHAM, Mass. -- Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce said Thursday that his neck pain may not heal this season and claimed he's still fighting through bouts of discomfort due to a nerve issue.

Pierce admitted earlier this month that he played through a pinched nerve in his neck, but it hasn't completely dissipated. Pierce had to be removed from a game in Phoenix last week while battling a stinger early in the second half.

"I probably won't be fully recovered from it until the season is over, if I ever do," Pierce said. "I probably have a little bit of nerve damage in my back, part of my neck. It's something that I've been playing through over the last several months. I'm about as healthy as I'm probably going to be in the regular season right now."

Pierce endured an up-and-down February but still averaged 17.8 points, 7.6 rebounds and 6.8 assists, elevating his all-around efforts after star point guard Rajon Rondo was lost for the season.

But the neck injury still nags at Pierce.

"I really don't try to pay attention to it during the game; I don't let little injuries kind of affect me," Pierce said. "I don't really think about it. It's probably been the reason I've been playing a little up and down now.

"Sometimes you get a sharp pain and sometimes I've had a stinger go through the same points in my neck where the pain is happening. It's happened a lot more than normally, whether it be in practice or in a game, but it's something I'll deal with after the season."

Pierce is averaging 18.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game this season. He has played in all 57 of Boston's games, but admitted that the Celtics' current stretch with only one game in seven days is a welcomed break.

"It's good for us to get the rest," Pierce said. "We had a five-game stretch in seven days -- it's a chance to come back, get some rest, get our legs back, so we can move on for the rest of this season."