Regaining His Touch, Szczerbiak Goes Down Again
BOSTON - Two mop buckets of ice and a gaggle of reporters awaited Wally Szczerbiak when he emerged from the shower and entered the locker room, which can only mean one thing.
It's time to talk about his ankles again, a topic he must certainly be tired of by now.
"Let's get this over with; I've got to ice my ankles," said Szczerbiak to reporters before taking questions after the Celtics 91-79 loss to the Miami Heat.
Working on a 14-point night in just under 14 minutes of play, Szczerbiak went down with 3:26 left in the third quarter when he tried to chase Jason Kapono off the three-point line in the corner in front of the Celtics bench. Overshooting Kapono and careening into the bench arena, Szczerbiak tripped on something and rolled his left ankle.
"I just chased down Kapono and watched the replay and I think I stepped on Leon Powe's foot right on the bench. My attention was diverted to the back to see if Kapono was shooting and I just stepped on his foot and rolled it."
Powe told reporters that he didn't feel Szczerbiak hit him, but either way, it was a rough landing for Szczerbiak. After clutching the ankle in obvious pain for a minute or so, he left the floor and made his way back to the locker room under his own power. Szczerbiak was the Celtics' leading scorer when he made his way to the tunnel.
"I actually thought tonight was the first game Wally looked like he was getting his legs back," said Celtics Coach Doc Rivers after the game.
Rivers said that he stressed to his team that they needed to do a better job of getting Szczerbiak the ball against the Heat than they did against the Pistons on Tuesday when he played one nine-minute stretch without attempting a shot.
"Tonight I thought they did a great job of that, and now he gets hurt," said Rivers.
Szczerbiak, who's sprained both ankles already this season, can't seem to buy a break when it comes to staying healthy this year. And just when he seems to get his rhythm back, he does it again.
"Everything was feeling good, both ankles getting strong, getting back in shape, [I was] starting to feel comfortable, playing a little bit more minutes," said Szczerbiak, who noted that the sprain wasn't as serious as the two previous ankle injuries. "It's just unfortunate."
Szczerbiak has been playing limited minutes as he eased his way back into the lineup recovering from his most recent sprain, and only over the last three games had his shot really started to fall for him. He'd hit five of his last six three point attempts in his last two games, and was 3-of-4 Wednesday night against the Heat before the injury ended his night.
While Doc Rivers said he didn't have an update on Paul Pierce's status before the game, the official word came down after his meeting with the press: Pierce would spend Wednesday night at New England Baptist Hospital and will be re-evaluated Thursday morning.
Given the re-evaluation, there was no word on whether Pierce is expected at Thursday's practice.
Rivers did say however that while the foot is still a concern for Pierce, his infected elbow was the issue that has kept him out of action. Rivers noted that had without the elbow issue, Pierce may have played against the Heat.