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Rome, Oct. 1 (Pruitt injured)

Posted by Marc J. Spears, Globe Staff  October 1, 2007 12:00 PM

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Celtics rookie point guard Gabe Pruitt injured his left ankle during Monday's practice while scrimmaging in Rome. The 32nd overall pick of the second round in this year's draft has been listed as day-to-day. Celtics coach Doc Rivers acknowledged recently that Pruitt has been very impressive and is playing the best of all the rookies.

At the end of Monday's practice, Italian soccer legend Alessandro Del Piero made an appearance and hung out with the players. While Celtics newcomers Kevin Garnett and Esteban Batista are both huge soccer fans who knew who Del Piero was, Batista said most of his teammates probably had no clue. The striker is arguably the best soccer player in Italian history, is Juventus' all-time leading scorer and has won seven Italian championships. After an NBA official explained Del Piero's background, Celtics coach Doc Rivers described him as "the Kevin Garnett" of Italian soccer.

Garnett and Del Piero seemed to really enjoy interacting with one another as they joined in on an interview and took numerous pictures. While Piero kicked the soccer ball around with Garnett and fellow Celtics Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, Pierce accidentally nearly kicked the ball in Garnett's face. It was also interesting to see the 6-foot-10 Batista, who played goalie in his native Uruguay, sheepishly ask Del Piero to autograph a soccer ball for him.

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