EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Sports

February 3, 2010

Thankfully, rumors of Pierce's demise greatly exaggerated

Speculation was running rampant that Paul Pierce had a broken left foot.

If it turned out to be a season-ending injury (the regular season ends April 14), the Celtics would have had no shot of winning a title and it would likely have led to the breakup of the New Big 3.

The C's would have been punching bags for the likes of the Cavaliers, Hawks and Magic.

But late last night the Boston Globe quoted president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, "I was very relieved to hear it was a sprained mid-foot and he'll be back soon.''

That was a far cry from earlier reports. Early in the evening the Boston Herald was reporting, "It doesn't look good.''

Shelden Williams fueled the speculation when he tweeted at 3:30 p.m., "Man when it rains it pours!!! Yall will find out what I mean soon!!!!''

Note to Shelden: when you are a journeyman/bust keep your explosive unconfirmed rumors to yourself.

So Celtic fans can still hold out hope that their team can make another run at a title. It might be a long shot or maybe Kevin Garnett's knee comes around and they become a feared team once again.

The Pierce scare could have signalled the end of the New Big 3, an unforgettable chapter after 21 years of irrelevance.

Title No. 17 will always hold a special place in these parts. Take that Kobe and the Lakers!

The rumor mill already had Boston possibly shopping Ray Allen, who has added trade value due to his expiring contract. Bad news on the Pierce front would have sped that up. Because it's this year or bust for this group.

Pierce, who was recently chosen to his eighth All-Star team, is 32. Allen is 34 and Kevin Garnett is 33 with a knee that has made him a shell of himself for over a full season now.

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