Celtics’ Paul Pierce Remains Doubtful for NBA Opener at Knicks

Dec. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce missed practice yesterday because of a right heel injury and is doubtful for tomorrow’s National Basketball Association season opener at the New York Knicks.

Pierce, 34, a nine-time All-Star, missed both of the Celtics’ preseason games and most of training camp with the heel problem. Coach Doc Rivers said Pierce remains doubtful for the opener at Madison Square Garden.

“It’d be very unlikely he’ll start if he plays,” Rivers said yesterday after practice. “If he does play, he’ll play 15-20 minutes, but right now I don’t see him going.”

Pierce led the Celtics in scoring last season by averaging 18.9 points per game. Rivers said Sasha Pavlovic, 28, probably will start in Pierce’s place.

The Celtics already are short-handed at the small forward position because Jeff Green is sidelined for the entire season due to a heart condition.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rob Gloster in San Francisco at rgloster@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net