Pierce taking heel injury slow

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Pierce taking heel injury slow

BOSTON Paul Pierce did not play in the Boston Celtics' intrasquad scrimmage on Friday night, and it wasn't necessarily because the C's were being overly cautious with his right heel injury.

"If this was a regular-season game, I probably wouldn't be able to play," Pierce told CSNNE.com prior to Friday's game that was won, 52-51, by the White team. "It's the type of injury if you play on it, it'll linger and get worse."

The injury, Pierce said, happened just days before the start of training camp.

"This happened at home," Pierce said. "I was working out, playing basketball. That Monday, before training camp, I had bruised my heel."

Pierce said he immediately informed the Celtics of what happened.

They recommended X-rays, but with camp just around the corner, Pierce opted to simply rest the heel until the start of camp and then have X-rays taken.

"They came back negative," he said. "It's been getting better and better every day."

Since the injury, Pierce has been doing some light shooting while wearing heel protectants.

As far as when he'll be back on the court, Pierce said he anticipates being ready to play in the Celtics' second and final preseason game against Toronto, on Dec. 21.

With the NBA lockout lasting 149 days, Pierce is among the many NBA players itching to get back on the court.

That, more than anything else, is what makes his current injury so frustrating.

"That's been eating at me the most," he said. "That we're back, but I haven't been able to be out there in practice. Just knowing that everything is so scrunched together, and the season starts in about a week and a half."

But when the season starts, Pierce says he'll be ready.

That's part of the reason why he's not trying to get back on the court until he feels the injury is fully heeled.

"You look toward the long run," Pierce said. "When you have long playoff runs over the last few years, it's a marathon sprint. You want guys to be able to come in and play extended minutes. You know how important guys come playoff time will be, like me, Ray (Allen), Kevin (Garnett) and knowing that we are a little bit older and we need a little bit more rest."

Raptors, in pursuit of Celtics in playoff race, lose Lowry for perhaps rest of regular season

Raptors, in pursuit of Celtics in playoff race, lose Lowry for perhaps rest of regular season

The Eastern Conference playoff race, seemingly altered by the moves -- and non-moves (hello there, Celtics) -- of some of the contenders, just took another twist.

The Raptors, bolstered by the acquisition of Serge Ibaka and appearing poised to make a run toward the top of the standings after a come-from-behind victory over the Celtics on Friday, were hit with a body blow Monday when it was announced All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry needs surgery on his right wrist and may miss the remainder of the regular season.

ESPN reports Lowry is expected to be sidelined from four to eight weeks. Toronto hopes to have him back for the playoffs.

The Raptors are currently in fourth place in the conference at 35-24, trailing Cleveland (40-17), Boston (38-21) and Washington (34-23). Without Lowry, and facing a rough, six-of-their-next-seven-games-on-the-road stretch, Toronto may stop focusing on catching the Wizards and/or Celtics and focus on holding off Atlanta (32-26) in order to hold onto home-court in the first round.

Lowry, 30, who missed the last two games because of the injury, is averaging a career-best 22.8 points per game. He also is averaging 6.9 assists and 4.7 rebounds.

Dennis Schroder doubles down on claims Isaiah Thomas took family trash talk too far

Dennis Schroder doubles down on claims Isaiah Thomas took family trash talk too far

Dennis Schroder isn't backing down.

The Atlanta Hawks point guard again was asked about Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas, and the budding rivalry between the two players that's turned into a rivalry between the two teams. Thomas, of course, was accused by Schroder of taking his trash talking a bit too far during the teams' last meeting, a 103-101 Celtics victory last month in which Thomas hit the game-winning shot with just seconds remaining.

Thomas' comments allegedly were about Schroder's family, per Schroder himself. Thomas has since repeatedly denied the claims. So does Schroder still deny Thomas' side of the story?

“I mean, yeah. Everybody heard it, too," Schroder said. "My family sat courtside too. And (Hawks teammate) Thabo (Sefolosha) heard some things, you know, and he was involved in it. But it is what it is. Like I said, we just try to compete. And you know, it’s getting heated in the game. It is what it is."

Schroder didn't dive much deeper than denying Thomas' claims of innocence. But is there something about Thomas inparticular that gets under Schroder's skin or runs him the wrong way?

Nah, I mean he’s a great player, he’s showing it this year," Schroder said. "I mean, what he did in the playoffs last year was just not, you know, professional. And I think nobody wants to see that but it’s fine. We just try to compete and try to help our team win the basketball game."

Schroder was referring to the back-and-forth physical play between himself and Thomas that resulted in flagrant fouls for both during the first-round playoff matchup betweein the clubs, a series Atlanta eventually won four games to two. Thomas' status was in doubt for Game 4 of the series after a hit to Schroder's head in Game 3, but the now two-time All-Star ultimately was allowed to play.

"Everybody’s competitive. Everybody tries to get out, get after it," Schroder explained when asked if his feud with Thomas fuels his team any extra. "I think it’s a big game tonight and the team knows it. I’m pretty sure the Celtics know it too. It’s getting close to the playoffs and every game counts."

Boston and Atlanta tip off from TD Garden at 7:30 p.m.