Pierce targets Sunday vs. Magic

Celtics captain Paul Pierce, day to day with a left mid-foot strain, sat out Thursday's practice session, opting for light running on a treadmill as the team went through preparations for Friday's visit from the New Jersey Nets.

Pierce, who injured his foot in a collision with Washington's Caron Butler during the first quarter of Monday's triumph over the Wizards, remains doubtful for Friday's game. He will participate in a pregame shootaround to gauge his recovery, and is targeting Sunday's visit from the Orlando Magic as a return date.

"I'm going by how it feels," said Pierce. "The good thing is that over the last couple days it's gotten better every day. I'm taking it a day at a time, until I know it's ready.

"I can walk on it. It's just a mid-foot sprain; it's not the end of the world. I've had worse injuries to tell you the truth. The good thing is I didn't have to go in a boot. I'm still walking around on it. It's about the pain going away. It's just a sprain, but it's not the worst sprain I've ever had."

Celtics coach Doc Rivers had said Pierce wasn't expected to participate in drills Thursday and will be reevaluated Friday, but it's unlikely he would play. Rivers said Pierce had a "better than 50 percent" chance at playing Sunday.

But Rivers also said if Pierce showed any signs of lingering pain, he would hold him out as long as the All-Star break. Rivers suggested he'd let Pierce play in the All-Star Game as his first action back if he's forced to sit out the next three games, just to get some activity before the Celtics resume play Feb. 16 in Sacramento to kick off a four-game road trip.

Pierce found some humor when a reporter exaggerated the news reports from Tuesday, asking Pierce how it felt to find out he was "on life support." Reports on Tuesday afternoon indicated Pierce had a broken foot.

"I know my body, better than the doctors, to tell you the truth," said Pierce. "Like I told y'all after the game on Monday, I thought it was a sprain. The doctor wanted to do the necessary tests they have to do, with the X-rays and MRI, but I told them all along [about the sprain] and that's what it came out to be.

"I don't know how it started that I had a broken foot. But it provided good drama for half a day."

Chris Forsberg covers the Celtics for ESPNBoston.com.