Anderson's Ankle OK

March 25, 2002

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. - For a few scary seconds, it looked as though the Celtics' run of good fortune with injuries had come to an end yesterday. With 30 seconds left in the third quarter of their 109-101 loss to Detroit, two Boston bodies were on the floor as the action went elsewhere.

   Paul Pierce was under one basket, felled by an errant Cliff Robinson elbow. Kenny Anderson was under the other basket, holding his left ankle and clearly in pain.

The good news is that Pierce shook it off and is fine, and that Anderson's injury is not nearly as bad as it first appeared. Anderson was able to walk to the locker room, where he quickly immersed the ankle in ice. He said he didn't think he'd be able to go tonight against the Heat, but, beyond that, he said he thought the prognosis was good.

"At first I thought I had broken it because I heard something pop. But it turned out to be a ligament and I should be OK," Anderson said. "It's not a bad sprain. I could put some weight on it. I think [tonight] will be tough, but, other than that, I'd say it was game-to-game."

The Celtics' top nine or 10 players this year have been remarkably injury free. Antoine Walker and Pierce have not missed a game and Anderson has missed only one. Among coach Jim O'Brien's favored group, only Tony Battie (seven games) and Eric Williams (eight) have been out for any significant time with injuries. Lineup tinkering

O'Brien tweaked his starting lineup, going with the taller, more physical Williams instead of Tony Delk. Delk had a tough afternoon, going 0 for 2 in 18 minutes. He also rode the pine as Erick Strickland manned the point for the final 9:57 . . . The Celtics are now 26-4 in games in which they score 100 points. Two of those losses have been recently: yesterday to Detroit and nine days ago to the Spurs . . . The Celtics started out strong from international waters, making 3 of 4 in the first half. Alas, they made only two of their remaining 15, missing eight straight at one point . . . Walker and Ben Wallace each got technicals . . . The Celtics trailed by 5 with less than a minute left and O'Brien ordered a quick foul. Why not go for the stop? "Because they would have worked the clock down to 30 seconds and if they made a shot, the game is over," he said. "Or if they missed a shot but got the rebound, the game is over. Plus, we're going to have to foul anyway." The Pistons had 14 free throw attempts in the final 2:27 and converted 11 . . . Wallace on appearing on national television: "We have to show people we deserve it. If you need some other motivation, you're in the wrong business. That's what you dream for as a player." . . . Next Sunday's game against the Bucks at the FleetCenter has been moved up to a 12:30 p.m. start to accommodate NBC. The game was scheduled to begin at 3.

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