Pavlovic gets starting nod in place of Pierce

Pavlovic gets starting nod in place of Pierce
December 22, 2011, 12:03 am
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BOSTON Paul Pierce (right heel) will not play tonight, so that means one thing More Marquis Daniels, right?

Not so fast.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers said he'll start Sasha Pavlovic in place of Pierce, and not Daniels, in tonight's preseason finale against the Toronto Raptors.

Rivers said if it were the regular season opener, he would start Daniels.

"But I do want to see Sasha with the (first) group, and see how that works out," Rivers said.

Pierce, who has only had one full practice in the preseason because of the injury, remains questionable for the Celtics' season opener at New York on Christmas Day.

"A bruise - and that's what it is, on the heel - that heals slowly, but it heals," Rivers said. "It's gotten a lot better, but we just don't know yet."

The condensed NBA schedule certainly isn't doing the C's any favors, either.

After Sunday's game against the Knicks, the C's have five games in the next eight days.

Rivers is somewhat concerned about throwing Pierce on the floor with what essentially amounts to no training camp.

"Paul, you throw him out there and see what he can gives you," Rivers said. "He's a gamer; he's always been that."

Rivers added, "this is an extraordinary circumstance. Been in a lockout, we've had a week, two weeks together and he's been part of none of that. And then we're just going to throw him in a game, when he gets healthy? That's not the situation you want to be in. But when you play 66 games in 124 days, you don't have a choice. You can't burn four or five games, if he's ready to play."