WALTHAM The right heel injury that Paul Pierce suffered prior to the start of training camp, was getting better.
Then he practiced on it, and now it has regressed.
It may be that kind of season for the Pierce, whose status for the season opener at New York on Christmas Day is very much in doubt.
Already ruled out for Wednesday's preseason game against Toronto, Celtics head coach Doc Rivers admits that he is worried about Pierce's availability moving forward.
"I'm concerned," Rivers said on Tuesday. "I'm not concerned long-term, but I am concerned short term."
But that's the problem.
The challenges in the short term are just as great because of the condensed NBA schedule courtesy of the 149-day lockout.
When you look at the Celtics' schedule to start the season - six games in the first nine days of the season - there's a very good chance that because of the heel injury, Pierce might be sidelined for some of those games.
Pierce, in an interview with CSNNE.com last week, acknowledged that he is concerned that the heel injury will be difficult to shake if he returns to playing too soon.
"It's the type of injury if you play on it," Pierce said. "It'll linger and get worse."
Pierce was targeting a return to action for Wednesday's game against Toronto. But that all changed following a workout on Monday.
"He went real hard yesterday and it just got real sore," Rivers said.
The best thing Pierce can do right now, is simply stay off the heel and give it as much rest as possible.
"But the problem with that is, it'll be a lot of rest and he may be ready," Rivers said. "But with no play, that's scary. If he's not, he's not."
Pierce's injury only adds to the problems the Celtics are having this year at the small forward position.
Jeff Green, who was going to play behind Pierce this season, failed his physical after results showed that he had an aortic aneurysm. Team officials announced last week that Green would miss the entire 2011-2012 season.
Marquis Daniels, who had 11 points in the C's 76-75 preseason win over Toronto on Sunday, will be counted on to help fill the void left by Pierce's injury.
The Celtics will also look at Sasha Pavlovic, who has been battling a sprained left wrist injury. The injury is on the mend, evident by him being able to participate fully in Tuesday's practice.