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Sunday, February 7, 2010
Pierce, Daniels on short leash

By Chris Forsberg
ESPNBoston.com

BOSTON -- For the first time this season, the Boston Celtics had their entire top 12 available Sunday afternoon against the Orlando Magic as Paul Pierce (left mid-foot sprain) and Marquis Daniels (left thumb surgery) saw action.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers had said before the Celtics' 96-89 loss to the Orlando Magic that both would be on a bit of a short leash; Pierce because he's still not 100 percent after missing two games with a foot strain, and Daniels, who missed 28 games after undergoing surgery to repair ligaments in his thumb, because he's not yet up to game speed.

Pierce scored 13 points in 30 minutes against the Magic while Daniels added eight in 13 minutes.

"The foot was a little sore, but I don't think it affected too much of my movement," Pierce said after the game.

Pierce suffered a strain on the top of his left foot in Monday night's 99-88 win at the Washington Wizards. He watched in street clothes from the bench as the Celtics won their next two games, 107-102 over the Miami Heat and 96-87 over the New Jersey Nets.

After determining that Pierce would play, Rivers circled back to his captain to ask again if he felt confident he could go.

"I went to him today -- which I rarely do after we make [the lineup] -- but I went back to him, and said, 'You sure?'" Rivers said before the game. "He said, 'No, the pain is on the top of foot. It's not anything under the foot, I can push off fine. I just hope I don't get kicked or stepped on.' I'm sure that's going to happen now."

Daniels expressed excitement in seeing his first game action since Dec. 4.

"I'm pretty excited to get out there and get active," said Daniels, who wore a small cushion under the tape over his left thumb and wrist. He still hasn't drawn contact in two recent practice sessions, but knows someone's going to whack him before long.

As for his role, Daniels hopes to pick up where he left off.

"Same as it was before I went out," he said before the loss. "Bring some energy, play defense, do the things that they like me to do."

Chris Forsberg covers the Celtics for ESPNBoston.com. Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.