DETROIT -- Celtics forward Paul Pierce, who has missed 23
games and all of Boston's franchise-record 15-game losing streak,
was sent home from Detroit on Tuesday because of swelling in his
left elbow and a low-grade fever.
An examination revealed that Pierce has an infection in the elbow and would need to be hospitalized for 24-48 hours. The Boston Globe reported that when Pierce arrived back in Boston team physician Brian McKeon lanced the infection at New England Baptist Hospital.
"[Pierce] said [Monday] that his elbow was bothering him," Celtics coach Doc Rivers told the Boston Herald. "They looked at it but it wasn't bad at all. But then this morning he came in and we were like, 'Oh, my gosh.' Eddie [Lacerte, the trainer] wanted him out of here quick. We'll see. It's infected and it's pretty big. And he's got a pretty high fever."
The infection is in the same elbow on which Pierce had offseason surgery for bursitis. He missed the final three games of last season due to discomfort from the condition.
Pierce hasn't played since Dec. 20. He was diagnosed with a
stress reaction in his left foot the next day and was expected to
miss two to three weeks but only recently resumed light practicing
with the team.
Pierce went with the team to Detroit, though he was not expected
to play against the Pistons.
Boston went on to lose to Detroit 109-102, making the Celts 2-21 this season without Pierce. By comparison, Pierce missed only eight games over the last six years, according to The Boston Globe.
"He's just got to be patient," Wally Szczerbiak told The Globe. "It's just something that happened. We've just got to make sure we take all the necessary precautions."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.