TD BANKNORTH GARDEN — Celtics forward Paul Pierce walked gingerly into the media room this afternoon to answer questions about the right knee sprain he suffered in the third quarter of last night’s Game 1 victory over the Lakers. His knee was heavily wrapped, and he walked up the podium stairs with a visible limp.
“I can walk on it, I can bend it, but there’s a little sharp pain on the inside of my knee,” said Pierce. “There’s a little pain in there right now so I’m going to keep it wrapped, iced.”
Pierce said he would be receiving treatment 2-3 times a day, and the team will continue to evaluate how the knee responds.
But what about Game 2? Pierce was asked the critical question twice during his press conference, and he answered it a little differently both times.
“I mean, there can be a chance [I won’t play],” he said the first time. “Right now if the game was today, I most likely wouldn’t be able to play today. Thank goodness for the schedule being that we get a couple days [off] now.”
The second time he answered the question, Pierce was a little more emphatic.
“I think there’s a great chance I’ll play on Sunday,” he said. “Just knowing myself, knowing my threshold for pain. Great chance I will be playing on Sunday.”
Celtics coach Doc Rivers said Pierce definitely wouldn’t be able to practice today, but said it won’t be a problem.
“We’re not going to do anything anyway,” said Rivers. “We’re going to watch film today and shoot free throws. I don’t think he could play today, to be honest. But you know, he’ll be ready by Sunday.”
Rivers admitted it was huge for the teams to have two full days off before Game 2.
“Obviously it’s nice not playing until Sunday,” said Rivers. “That gives [Pierce and Kendrick Perkins] time to heal. I expect both of them to play, honestly. I just don’t know how much they can give us yet.”
Pierce had to be carried off the court midway through the third quarter of last night’s Game 1. After being taken to the locker room in a wheelchair, Pierce checked back into the game less than two minutes later to a standing ovation from the crowd.
Just as he did last night, Lakers coach Phil Jackson today questioned the severity of Pierce’s injury.
“I don’t know if the angels visited him at halftime or in that time-out period that he had or not, but he didn’t even limp when he came back out on the floor,” said Jackson. “I don’t know what was going on there (laughter). Was Oral Roberts back there in their locker room (laughter)?”
Pierce admitted he’s a bit put off by all the attention following last night’s drama.
“It’s crazy to me,” he said. “I’ve never been carried off the court. It was sort of embarrassing, truthfully. I should have just laid their for 5 more minutes…If I ever get carried off the court again, I’m not coming back.”
Perkins said he would have been able to practice today if the team had held one.
“It’s just a little sore right now, but it’s all right,” said Perkins. “The swelling’s not bad, but it’s in pain.”
Perkins was asked if he would be able to play Sunday.
“Yeah, I’m going to play,” said Perkins. “It’s the Finals.”
“I guess I gave him some energy,” joked Perkins.