Celtics captain Paul Pierce said he had a second procedure to clear an infection from his right knee last week after the first was unsuccesful. There is no timetable for Pierce’s return, though it is not expected that the extra procedure will keep him out substantially longer than originally thought.
Pierce says he is day-to-day. He will travel with the Celtics on their next road trip but has not set a target date to return to game action.
“It’s getting better,” said Pierce. “I’m feeling pretty good. Right now it’s day-to-day. There’s no timetable on it.”
Pierce, who had his knee wrapped as he spoke to reporters, said he has not even started jogging following the second procedure, which took place last Friday, Christmas night. Pierce has been riding the exercise bike and put up a few jump shots, but his focus has mostly been to ice and treat his injured knee. With the swelling as it stands now, Pierce cannot fully bend his knee.
“When I get to that point [when he can bend it] then I think I’ll be ready to play,” said Pierce. “I’m doing the necessary treatments to get back on the court. Every day we’ve seen some improvements. We’re measuring it every day, icing it, warming it up, keeping my leg strong.
“The frustrating thing about the injury is it just sort of happened. It wasn’t anything that happened on the court. So that’s even more frustrating.”
Pierce said he felt no effects of the injury after a game last Tuesday with the Indiana Pacers, but said his knee went from no pain to “severe” pain in about a 15-minute period after he got home. He said the first arthroscopic procedure did not actually find the infection, which is why he went back to the hospital for a second surgery. The second procedure did find and treat the infection. Pierce is currently taking oral antibiotics, down from the intravenous antiobiotics he took every day last week.
Doctors did not officially determine the source of the infection, but they speculated it could have come from a cut he got on his toe in the locker room last Tuesday.
“When you’re sitting there and you’ve got severe pain in your knee and you’re watching it swell up, you’re wondering what’s going on,” said Pierce. “That’s not normal.”
Pierce stressed that his injury was more about swelling and pain threshold as opposed to anything he could do more damage to, such as a ligament tear. When the swelling goes down and Pierce gets his range of motion back, he expects to be able to play.
“I want to play when I’m ready,” said Pierce. “Of course I want to play but you don’t want to be dumb. You have to look at the longevity of it. I don’t want to go out there and hobble around. I want to go out there when I’m ready and healthy.”
Watching from the sidelines has not been fun for the Celtics captain.
“A couple tough close losses that I thought we should have won,” said Pierce. “But it’s still early in the year. Hopefully we can get everybody back healthy.”