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It's wait and see for Pierce

His status for opener decided tomorrow

By Frank Dell'Apa
Globe Staff / December 23, 2011
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WALTHAM - Paul Pierce took part in informal shooting drills at practice yesterday but his status for the Celtics’ season opener Sunday in New York has not been determined.

“We won’t ask him to do anything until [tomorrow] and see what he can do,’’ coach Doc Rivers said of the Celtics captain, who has a right heel bruise. “If he can play we may not even start him. But we don’t know any of that until [tomorrow].’’

Pierce’s condition is being evaluated by trainer Ed Lacerte.

“If Eddie says he can play, he’ll play,’’ Rivers said. “Paul knows what we do for the most part, and if Eddie gives him clearance it’s because he thinks he can play.’’

Green sighting

Jeff Green, declared out for the season with a heart condition, suited up yesterday for post-practice free throw shooting drills.

“He’s part of the team,’’ Rivers said. “Jeff is, hopefully, going to get a ring, he’ll be there, just like everybody else.

“Jeff doesn’t have to be here but he wants to be here, and we want him here. He’s part of our culture, part of our family and we want to keep him here.’’

Said Kevin Garnett: “Jeff’s our brother, man, and we want him around. What he has to go through, none of us has been there. What he’s going to go through is definitely life-changing. We definitely want him around. It’s good to have him around, to be the younger brother, and we wish him the best.’’

“Jeff is not only a teammate, he’s a good friend of ours,’’ guard Rajon Rondo said. “To have him around, his wisdom, whatever he can share with us - it’s just great to have him around.’’

Pivotal instruction

After a spirited halfcourt scrimmage during practice, Garnett worked on individual positioning with JuJuan Johnson and Greg Stiemsma.

“A lot of stuff I’m showing them is a lot of stuff I had trouble with when I was younger,’’ Garnett said. “A lot of it I see can help a young guy or anybody. You’re never too old to learn something. I think I learn that every day. I try to be, if not a teacher, to influence the young guys and everybody in here.’’

Christmas wishes

Garnett and Rivers are taking pragmatic approaches to Sunday’s game against the Knicks.

“It is what it is, whether I like it or not, whether we like it or not,’’ Garnett said. “We have a game on Christmas and that kicks things off. That’s the reality of it. I don’t have a preference - it’s all fortunate, playing on Christmas means you’re one of the best; either that, or one of most entertaining. I like to think we’re either one. In [Madison Square] Garden, I can’t think of a better place to be on Christmas. It’s pretty exciting. I’m embracing it.’’

Rivers said he objects to the scheduling of a Christmas game followed by another road game, at Miami Tuesday.

“I don’t ever think we should,’’ Rivers said of playing on Christmas. “But I also look at it as an honor. That’s the way I look at it. Listen, we get a lot of time off, and we work once the season starts, every day, holidays. I have no problem with it. There are players who have a major problem with it.

“It’s a privilege to play. We’re all in the NBA. That’s one thing I tell the players.

“The only problem I have - and we’re doing it again this year - is, whoever plays on Christmas should be able to come home the next day. Two years, we played back to back, out West one year.

“I look at most of the Christmas games, the away team at the beginning jumps on them, and then the home team comes back. Hopefully, we can do the beginning part, then keep it going.’’

Frank Dell’Apa can be reached at

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