If there’s one writer out there that carries the clout to get these C’s to open up, it’s Jackie MacMullan. This time she has a great piece over for ESPN Boston that gets in-depth with the C’s Captain. Just how hurt was Pierce last year? And how good is he feeling now?
The 2009-10 campaign was so physically and mentally challenging for Pierce that he seriously contemplated shutting it down midway through the season. Injuries to his knee, foot and thumb were well documented, but Pierce revealed he also suffered from a painful and persistent turf toe that forced him to wear a brace and a half-inch of padding in his shoe throughout the Finals.
The first sign of trouble was a sore knee that wouldn’t respond to treatment and forced Pierce to undergo “minor” surgery last Dec. 23 to clean out an infection. Doctors warned him that fluid would build up in the repaired knee, but Pierce wasn’t expecting to have it drained nearly every week. Sometimes, Pierce said, the knee would “pop open,” squirting foul liquid across the locker room.
“If you are interested, I have the video to prove it,” he said.
It happened moments before the Celtics took the court for a Jan. 29 game at Atlanta, and, to the horror of his teammates, Pierce cleaned himself (and his uniform) up to the best of his ability, then went out and dropped 35 points on the Hawks in a team-high 37 minutes.
And so it went for the next three months, as Pierce’s “geyser” knee often erupted without warning. The release of the fluid helped the flexibility in the joint, but also prevented him from rehabilitating the injury properly.
“I was probably a little stubborn about not letting it heal right,” Pierce admitted. “I told them I was fine, but I had this fluid leaking out all over the place. It wasn’t so much the pain. I just lost all my strength. I played a lot of last season on basically one leg.”
Looking for good news about Pierce? Try this quote:
“I feel great for the first time in a long time,” the Celtics captain said.
The fact that he is finally healthy — “that didn’t happen until the summer,” Pierce explained — and Kevin Garnett has fully recovered from knee surgery are two reasons why Pierce likes Boston’s chances as the team opens its season Tuesday against the locked-and-loaded Miami Heat.
One more days folks…..one more day.