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WALTHAM, Mass. -- Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce remained out of practice Tuesday and will not play in Wednesday's exhibition finale against the Toronto Raptors. What's more, Celtics coach Doc Rivers said he is concerned if Pierce will be able to return to action in time for the regular-season tip-off on Christmas Day against the New York Knicks.Pierce suffered a bruised heel during the team's first full-squad practice and has been mostly a spectator since. He skipped Sunday's exhibition game in Toronto and tried to resume workouts Monday, only to experience soreness from the on-court activity. Asked if he was concerned about Pierce's health, Rivers said not in the long-term, but very much so for the start of the season when the Celtics play three games in four days. "We have [three] games right off the bat and he's really gone only one practice and that's basically it," said Rivers. "So, yeah, I'm concerned about it. It's just a heel bruise and he went real hard [Monday] and it got real sore. We just want him to rest. The problem with that is, it'll be a lot of rest, and then he may be ready, but with no play, there's that." Rivers said he'd like to get Pierce on the floor on Friday and hopes he'll be able to go in time for Sunday's season-opener in New York. They simply don't want to rush him after the setback on Monday.
"He felt good, so we told him to go out and work," said Rivers. "He did some 1-on-1 work with some of the guys and his foot was extremely sore today. That's just the way it works right now."Marquis Daniels started Sunday's exhibition game and spent time running with the first team on Tuesday, but Rivers admitted he was uncertain if he'd maintain that role for the regular season if Pierce can't go. Rivers likes utilizing Daniels with the second unit and might not want to alter that chemistry by pulling him into the starting lineup (he often used a similar approach with Glen Davis last season). Sasha Pavlovic is the other depth behind Pierce, but he's working his way back from a bruised left wrist, suffered after being undercut in practice last week. "Sasha's getting better; He practiced the whole practice [Tuesday]," said Rivers. "He's a little nervous, you can see that. But he'll get better as practices go on."
Does having two of three swingmen currently injured worry Rivers? This after the team announced this weekend that previous top backup Jeff Green would miss the season due to a heart ailment."If Sasha, Paul, and all of them can't play, yeah, I would be," Rivers said. "But I'm not that concerned right now. I think we'll have at least two of the three, and we might have all three." Chris Forsberg covers the Celtics and Patriots for ESPNBoston.com.