Pierce will play tonight; says knee is fine

INDIANAPOLIS -- Celtics coach Doc Rivers confirmed that forward Paul Pierce has no apparent lingering effects from what Pierce called a "light sprain" of his left knee in Friday's loss to the Hawks at the TD Garden.

Pierce, who walked through the locker room before Saturday's game against Indiana without a limp and not wearing a brace, told Rivers Saturday he was feeling great.

"He's fine," said Rivers. "By last night, it felt pretty good. This morning he said it felt great. I told him, 'If I see anything, you're not playing, we'll take you out,' but he said he felt great. We'll see."

Rivers didn't know -- or would not reveal -- if Pierce had been taken for an X-ray. He said his guess would be that he hadn't, particularly given the quick turnaround and the team flying to Indiana Friday night.

A framed picture of Marquis Daniels wearing his Pacers No. 6 jersey was leaning up against his locker stall in the visitor's locker room before Saturday's game. Asked if he had any emotions returning to Indiana after spending three seasons here, Daniels just laughed and said, "No, I don't show emotions."

Added Daniels: "It's another game, another game we need to win, especially coming off a tough loss [Friday] night. We need to find some energy, get things going early."

This past offseason, the Pacers declined a $7.3 million team option on Daniels and he eventually came to Boston at a reduced rate.

"I had a lot of good times here, but I felt I had a better situation here in Boston," said Daniels. "It was less money, but I felt like it was a better situation."

Daniels has thrived as a highly versatile bench player, averaging 6.6 points, 2 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game. He can run the point for the second unit -- allowing Eddie House to play his more natural shooting guard role -- or go inside and battle in the post depending on the personnel on the floor.

Rivers hasn't stopped raving about him.

"He's been phenomenal, in every aspect: scoring, defending, handling the ball," said Rivers. "We liked him, obviously, but he kicked butt one game -- I think it was here last year -- and we liked him long before that, but I didn't realize he had the basketball IQ that he has. I don't know if you can see that unless you watch him every day. Now that we have him, we love it."

Allen, Walker, Davis deactivated

The Celtics deactivated Tony Allen, Bill Walker, and Glen Davis for Saturday's game. It's clear the team wants both Allen (ankle) and Walker (knee) to ease their way back into action.

Walker appeared in the final two minutes of Wednesday's lopsided win over the Jazz after just two practices since returning to full activity after knee surgery at the start of October. He went through a spirited warm-up routine, but, with other healthy options, the Celtics have the luxury of not rushing Walker back.

Allen has missed all but one preseason game, during which he aggravated his right ankle on the heels of offseason surgery.

The last time Davis talked to reporters, he targeted Dec. 1 as a potential return to practice after surgery to repair a fractured right thumb sustained just days before the start of the season.