Pierce playing through pain

WALTHAM, Mass. -- Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce said Thursday that his neck pain may not heal this season and he's still fighting through bouts of discomfort due to a nerve issue.

Pierce admitted earlier this month that he played through a pinched nerve in his neck. During a game in Phoenix last week, Pierce had to be removed from the game while battling a stinger early in the second half.

"I probably won’t be fully recovered from it until the season is over, if I ever do," Pierce said. "I probably have a little bit of nerve damage in my back, part of my neck. It’s something that I’ve been playing through over the last several months. I’m about as healthy as I’m probably going to be in the regular season right now."

Pierce endured an up-and-down February, but still averaged 17.8 points, 7.6 rebounds and 6.8 assists per game, elevating his all-around efforts after point guard Rajon Rondo was lost for the season. But the injury still nags at him.

"I really don’t try to pay attention to it during the game; I don’t let little injuries kind of affect me," said Pierce. "I don’t really think about it. It’s probably been the reason I’ve been playing a little up and down now. Sometimes you get a sharp pain and sometimes I’ve had a stinger go through the same points in my neck where the pain is happening. It’s happened a lot more than normally, whether it be in practice or in a game, but it's something I'll deal with after the season."

For the season, Pierce is averaging 18.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game. He has played in all 57 of Boston's games, but admitted this stretch with only one game in seven days is a welcomed break.

"It’s good for us to get the rest," said Pierce. "We had a five-game stretch in seven days, it’s a chance to come back, get some rest, get our legs back, so we can move on for the rest of this season."