By Jessica Camerato
BOSTON - The Boston Celtics have battled injuries all season, so it can be no surprise that as Kendrick Perkins returned from one, Paul Pierce left the game with another.
Pierce tweaked his right ankle during Tuesdays win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. He left the Celtics bench during the fourth quarter and did not return.
But dont worry, he doesnt expect this to be a major problem.
I just tweaked it a little bit, he said after the game. Thats why I left to the trainers a little early to go and get a little treatment. I dont think it should be anything serious. I should be fine.
Coach Doc Rivers was not overly concerned about the team captain.
I think he thought we were practicing tomorrow. Its called The Veteran Injury, he said. They know how to get hurt late because they think it excuses them from practice the next day. So hes fine.
Pierce led all players with 24 points (8-for-15 from the floor, 6-for-7 from the free-throw line).
It was only four years ago that the Celtics found themselves in the same situation as the Cavaliers -- on the losing end of an 18-game skid, one season before Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen came to Boston.
Back then the Cs didnt let their struggles dictate their efforts, and the Cavs dont plan on doing that either.
It goes in one ear and out the other. Thinking about it or letting it dwell doesnt affect the psyche at all, said Cleveland's Antawn Jamison. Thats something we dont need. The biggest thing for us is to go out there and compete and not worry about whats being said in the news, how many we lost in a row. Weve just got to go out there and compete and have the confidence to go out there and have an opportunity to win every time I go out there on the court.
The Cavaliers have not won since December 18, 2010. They beat the Celtics on October 27 in Cleveland.
The Celtics will begin a four-game road trip on Thursday, starting in Portland against the Trail Blazers. The trips includes stops in Phoenix, Sacramento, and Los Angeles for the first time since losing Game Seven of the NBA Finals to the Lakers in June. They will return to Boston on February 4 against the Dallas Mavericks. The Celtics are 12-7 on the road this season.
Marquis Daniels (family issue) is likely to return to the team for their game against the Trail Blazers on Thursday.
Former Celtic Leon Powe (torn right meniscus) did not travel to Boston with the Cavaliers. He stayed in Cleveland to continue his rehab, and told CSNNE.com he's on track for a February return.
The Celtics (42-for-84 in field-goal attempts) improved to 25-2 when shooting 50 percent or better from the field.
Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.comjcameratonba