Health concerns mount for C's heading into series-clincher

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Health concerns mount for C's heading into series-clincher

BOSTON The Boston Celtics have a different kind of Big Three now - three players of concern for Doc Rivers.

As the C's head to Atlanta for a potential series-clinching matchup with Atlanta on Tuesday, they'll do so with at least three players whose status is iffy, at best.

Mickael Pietrus (hamstring), Paul Pierce (left knee) and Ray Allen (right ankle) are all questionable for Tuesday's Game 5 matchup.

Pietrus' injury occurred during the Celtics' 101-79 Game 4 win over Atlanta on Sunday.

"MP's hamstring, we had to take him out," said C's coach Doc Rivers.

And while Allen had another solid game (13 points) for the Celtics since returning to the lineup after missing the previous 11 games, Rivers isn't sure if the ankle injury that sidelined him will return and thus limit him or worse - make it so that he can't play in Game 5.

But Allen maintains that the injury woes in recent weeks - for now at least - appear to be a thing of the past.

"I feel surprisingly great," Allen said. "I'm really managing my off days really well."

And he'll look to continue doing that on Monday, a day in which the C's will travel to Atlanta but will not practice.

"Traveling takes a toll on your body being in the air," Allen said. "I think everybody's going to deal with some type of swelling. You know getting into the hotel and just staying off your feet is huge."

The player that the C's are probably most concerned about now is Pierce, who had a game-high 24 points in less than 17 minutes of action on Sunday.

The left knee injury he suffered in Game 5 was actually re-aggravated from an injury he suffered during the C's shoot-around on Sunday morning.

C's coach Doc Rivers was as surprised as anyone that Pierce was able to play, let alone play so well on Boston's Game 4 win.

"When I left shoot-around, I probably thought he (Pierce) was not going to play," Rivers said.

And the injury, Rivers said, was such a fluke one, too.

"He was just dribbling the ball and went to the floor in shoot-around," Rivers recalled. "And I was thinking, "What more can you ? We were walking (throughout most of the shoot-around). You know, that's how you felt, like, my gosh. And honestly, when he went down, it didn't look good.So the fact that he could come in and play, and play the way he played was great."

As far as whether he'll play in Game 5, Rivers said, "I have no idea. You know, with a couple of guys - actually three of them - we literally don't know. So we'll find out."

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