Ping-Pong Balls on the Mind

April 2007

No-risk strategy

With the Celtics playing for progress and ping-pong balls as the season winds down, they aren't taking any chances other than in the lottery. That's why neither Pierce (left elbow) nor Jefferson (left knee) made the trip.

Executive director of basketball operations Danny Ainge revealed that Pierce, who sat out his third straight game, recently underwent MRIs on his left elbow and left foot. Ainge, who made the trip, was uncertain of the results but said it was a virtual certainty that Pierce, who missed 24 games earlier this season with a stress reaction in the foot, would not play at home tomorrow against the Heat or on the road Saturday against the Pacers.

"I do think that Paul still has some swelling in his elbow," said Ainge. "We left him at home and he probably won't play this weekend."

That increases the likelihood that Pierce will not play again this season, since only six games remain after the weekend.

Pierce could have some company, depending on how Jefferson's knee responds. The team is listing it as a bruise. Jefferson injured the knee against the Bobcats March 21 and aggravated it when he banged into Gomes in practice Tuesday. Rivers said Jefferson would undergo further tests on the knee "probably in the next day or two."

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