Celtics

Doc: We don't expect Pierce to play Sunday

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Doc: We don't expect Pierce to play Sunday

WALTHAM -- The Boston Celtics aren't expecting a Christmas Day miracle from Paul Pierce on Sunday.
Following practice on Friday, coach Doc Rivers says it's still doubtful Pierce (right heel) will play on Opening Day against the New York Knicks. The Celtics captain didn't participate in the teams practice and will be re-evaluated on Saturday.
Pierce did light shooting after practice and Rivers noted he has been working out more. If he were able to suit up, Rivers would limit his minute off the bench.
Paul may wake up and say, Coach, I want to go, Rivers said. I can tell you this, its very unlikely hell start if he plays. I dont think thatll happen. So if he does play, hell play 15, 20 minutes, but right now I dont see him playing.
Without Pierce in the starting lineup, Rivers will most likely turn to Sasha Pavlovic, who started Wednesdays preseason game against the Toronto Raptors. Pavlovic has improved his defense since last season, and starting him will allow Rivers to keep the second unit in tact.
I just think they feel each other, and I think Marquis Daniels really helps, especially when we go with a five-man second unit, which I dont know if well do or not, he explained. But it just really helps the team.
So what would happen if Pierce told Rivers he can go on Sunday?
Its the medical staffs decision. Its 100 percent the medical staff, said Rivers. I think this year, its really going to have to be that because we cant trust them in that because if they do play, and then further their injury and miss 10 games, thats the same as 25 games in a normal year because of the shortened season.
He continued, I dont talk to the players about it. I talk to the medical staff about it, because you can talk to a player about injuries all day. When they get injured, their mental will tell them theyre not either way, so they cant be honest. They just literally cannot be honest with injuries. I dont think Ive ever met an honest player with injuries.

Bill Russell, Kobe Bryant post messages to Gordon Hayward

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Bill Russell, Kobe Bryant post messages to Gordon Hayward

A couple of NBA legends - one old school and one more modern-day - were among the luminaries wishing Gordon Hayward well after his gruesome ankle injury in the Celtics' season opener in Cleveland on Tuesday night.

Celtics legend Bill Russell tweeted his best wishes to Hayward on Twitter and future Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant posted a message to him on Instagram.

Be sad. Be mad. Be frustrated. Scream. Cry. Sulk. When you wake up you will think it was just a nightmare only to realize it’s all too real. You will be angry and wish for the day back, the game back THAT play back. But reality gives nothing back and nor should you. Time to move on and focus on doing everything in your power to prepare for surgery, ask all the questions to be sure you understand fully the procedure so that you may visualize it in your subconscious while being operated on and better the chance of it’s success. Then focus on the recovery process day by day by day. It’s a long journey but if you focus on the mini milestones along the way you will find beauty in the struggle of doing simple things that prior to this injury were taken for granted. This will also mean that when you return you will have a new perspective. You will be so appreciative of being able to stand, walk, run that you will train harder than you ever have. You see the belief within you grow with each mini milestone and you will come back a better player for it. Best of luck to you on this journey my brother #mambamentality always.

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Hayward went down about five minutes into his first regular-season game with the C's and is awaiting surgery for an ankle dislocation and fracture at New England Baptist Hospital.

New Celtics teammate Kyrie Irving and the player Irving was traded for, Isaiah Thomas, also posted Wednesday in the aftermath of the injury. 

WE ALL got you brother, No matter what. @gdhayward 3/23 🔺👁☘️

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