Following the 85-82 victory over the Miami Heat on Sunday afternoon, Celtics forward Paul Pierce revealed he is currently battling right hand and left foot injuries.
In a postgame conference, this is what Pierce had to say:
"Right now...just battling a couple of minor injuries, my hand and my foot. I think that explains my tentativeness and my off-shooting today. I told Doc that I really didn't have it today, but I would try to grind it out and thank goodness we came away with the win."
Pierce stated that he injured his foot "about a week ago," and that he injured his hand yesterday in practice and aggravated it again while playing today.
His foot injury is serious enough to warrant an MRI, scheduled for Monday. Pierce hopes this will help indicate what exactly is wrong with his foot.
Pierce, who scored just one point on 0-10 shooting against the Heat, clearly wasn't himself. I thought it was the after effects of the flu bug that caused him to miss practice last Wednesday, but he insisted that he wasn't sick for Sunday's game.
If the Celtics' injury problems aren't bad enough already, they could potentially enter uncharted waters.
While I've got to hand the "most damaged team of the year award" to the Trailblazers due to the severity of their injuries (see Greg Oden, Brandon Roy, Marcus Camby), the Celtics take the cake when it comes to volume and consistency.
If Pierce were to miss time, the Celtics would have no small forwards on their roster. Backup Marquis Daniels is out indefinitely after suffering a spinal cord bruise during last week's contest against the Orlando Magic.
It's almost comical to admit, but the Celtics are in danger of running out of players. Seriously.
The C's dressed just nine players for their contest against the Miami Heat. Of those nine, Nate Robinson played just five minutes, possibly the result of a bruised knee suffered against the Los Angeles Lakers last Thursday; Avery Bradley (20) and Luke Harangody (23) are both rookies and have played sparingly all season.
Glen Davis and Von Wafer are currently the only able-bodied reserves the Celtics coaching staff are comfortable playing. If Pierce were to miss games, Davis would likely get the call to replace him as the starting small forward.
Assuming Robinson and the rookies remain limited and Pierce misses time, only one player, Von Wafer, would be considered a "comfortable play." Wafer himself is averaging just 8.7 minutes per game and has only started getting consistent minutes since Daniels suffered his spinal cord injury a few games ago.
I don't want to jump to conclusions, as Pierce's injuries don't seem like something that would keep him out for a lengthy period of time, but the Celtics might have little choice but to speed up their search for suitable trade options.
Even before today, both Danny Ainge and Doc Rivers admitted that an eventual trade might be necessary to fix the amount of injuries that the team has suffered.
Last Tuesday, Rivers gave his opinion on the injury situation when he spoke to the Boston Globe:
“I think what we have to do really is wait and see with the Marquis situation, how long that will be. If that’s long then we have to do something.’’
Yesterday, Ainge shed some light on the situation and echoed Rivers when he told the Boston Herald what the factors in working out a deal might include:
"There’s always players, there are a lot of players dying to play. It’s a matter of finding the best player you can get within your means. But we do have limitations — 15 players under contract already, salary cap, luxury tax...all of the above.
The first thing we’re considering is Marquis. We won’t be doing anything until we find out what’s going on with Marquis. That means we won’t be doing anything until probably around the (Feb. 24) trade deadline.
So for the next couple of games, whoever’s in uniform is what we have. We’ll just have to do the best we can.”
Obviously, a number of factors have to be worked through before the team could complete a trade. They have the maximum number of contracts allotted by the NBA (15), as well as an unwillingness to deal the few tradeable assets they have.
They also have to deal with a paper-thin market for perimeter players, small-forwards especially. Obviously, they aren't going to be landing someone like Carmelo Anthony, but guys like Grant Hill of the Phoenix Suns and Rip Hamilton of the Detroit Pistons could be potential options.
While the C's have shown hesitancy to rush to a decision to bring in outside help, they'll have to do something. Even with Delonte West slated for return next Wednesday, the Celtics will have a thin rotation.
They might have to start playing guys like Avery Bradley and Luke Harangody for extended minutes, something the Celtics certainly do not want to do.
Who knows what directions the Celtics will take, but all the injuries aren't going to do any wonders for their overall record.
Given all the injuries and the patience of the front office, the Celtics are probably going to gamble with the fact that they won't achieve the top seed in the Eastern Conference.
Dan is a Boston Celtics featured columnist. Follow him on Twitter @danhartelBR.
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