Pierce good to go, but how good remains to be seen

Paul Pierce will play, but just how much -- and how effective -- remains to be seen.

After missing the first three games of the season, and watching from the bench as the Celtics dropped the first three games of the season, Pierce will suit up and start in the home opener for the C's against the Pistons. But Doc Rivers wouldn't put a number on the minutes he'd play.

"Not a lot. I mean I don't know yet, we're just going to go by our eyes," Rivers said. "He's had one practice this year and that was three weeks ago, or whenever we started -- maybe last week. But you know what I'm saying.

We'll just go by our eyesight and what he knows offensively, defensively, his rhythm, and just build him up each game."

The last time Pierce played in an organized NBA game, the Celtics were bounced in the second round of last season's NBA playoffs. The team is a much different one since then, but the starting lineup remains the same. Pierce shouldn't have much trouble easing his way into the swing of things out on the court.

"We haven't changed much," Rivers said. Zone is the only thing that's different for him so, yeah, he can do that. Or we just won't play it. Hopefully man [-to-man defense], which we haven't done either very well."

But can we expect to see the same Paul Pierce that's lead the Celtics over the last decade? It's hard to believe he's 100-percent going into the game, but the Celtics wouldn't give him the go if he wasn't close.

"I don't know what percentage he is honestly, I just know (Celtics trainer) Eddie Lacerte said Paul should play tonight so I'm going to play him tonight. We'll probably figure it out aft the game I'll tell you what percentage I thought he was. But really I don't know, I just know it's good to have him on the floor. He has great ability, we know that. Whether he can get it out of him or not, we don't know."

Normally Pierce would have some time on the practice court with his teammates before playing in his first game of the season, but the lockout won't allow for that -- or much practice at all -- this season.

"It's part of the lockout season," Rivers said. "You don't have practices to get guys back in shape and ready; you have to use games."

One member of the Celtics who won't be suiting up tonight is Chris Wilcox. Wilcox suffered a left shoulder injury during the first half of the Celtics-Heat game, and hasn't returned since.

While he won't play tonight, he should be back on the court for the Celtics' next game in Washington, DC on Sunday.

"The shoulder -- obviously it didn't come out or anything but he's just having trouble moving it around," Rivers said of Wilcox. "He's getting better each day, and Eddie [Lacerte] thought maybe by the first Washington game."

Either way, the Celtics hope to win their first game of the season Friday night at home against Detroit. Rivers stated that no team wants to lose three games in a row anytime during the season, and he hopes that it will level out as the season progresses.

"But listen, I'm a believer in that you are what your record is at that time," Rivers said. "I don't want to hear about us should be whatever. Right now we're an 0-3 basketball team and that's who we are and until we fix that that's who we're going to be."

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