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.
The injury appeared ugly. During Monday's game with the Wizards, Washington's Caron Butler landed on Pierce's left foot as the two scrambled for a loose ball late in the first quarter. A grimacing Pierce hobbled off the court but surprisingly later returned. Obviously ailing, he played 10 minutes in the third quarter but sat out the fourth.
Season-ending injury, to a couple games on the sidelines. That's The Truth being The Truth.
He's always seemed indestructible. He's played in 93.2 percent of Boston's games (854 of 916), often soldiering on when few in the NBA would have.
A day after being whacked by Amare Stoudemire and leaving some teeth in the parquet, he hit a game winner. Last year he made like Butch Hobson as his elbow had to be drained several times.
Of course, he was nearly stabbed to death early in his career and he somehow came back better than ever.
He'll be back and, judging by past history, return to All-Star form. Whether the C's have another championship run in them remains up to debate. But if the injury had been season ending, there is no debate ... it would have been the end of the New Big 3.
Michael Muldoon is an Eagle-Tribune sportswriter. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.