Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo OK to play

Updated: January 4, 2011, 1:53 AM ET
By Chris Forsberg | ESPNBoston.com

BOSTON -- Both Paul Pierce (sprained right ankle) and Rajon Rondo (sprained left ankle) were in the starting lineup Monday night when the Celtics beat the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves 96-93 at TD Garden.

Pierce, who turned his right ankle on an awkward landing following a late-game fast-break dunk Sunday at Toronto, played a team-high 37 minutes Monday, scoring 23 points.

"I was a little stiff, slow," Pierce said. "But it wasn't as bad as I thought. I'm just going to get treatment throughout the week. I don't see any problems coming up."

"Paul's good. I just think he jumped too high on the play [Sunday]," Celtics coach Doc Rivers joked before the game. "He's not used to that any more."

Rondo played Sunday for the first time since missing seven games following a severe ankle sprain suffered against the Knicks in mid-December. Rivers said Rondo had no setbacks after nearly 34 minutes of action.

"I think Rondo said he wasn't as sore as he thought he would be," Rivers said. "But just the mental part of getting through that, it's different. I thought he did a nice job [Sunday], almost played in a conservative way -- or as conservative as Rondo can play."

On Monday, Rondo had 16 assists to go with 6 points and 4 rebounds.

Rivers said both players can probably expect to deal with some lingering swelling that might never subside given the grind of the game (particularly this week for Boston, when it plays five games in seven days).

"I think when you sprain your ankle, it never goes away," said Rivers. "You feel better and you play -- and you play at 100 percent -- but I think there's always some swelling, whoever it is. You sprain your ankle during the season, your ankle is never the same size until after the season."

Chris Forsberg covers the Celtics for ESPNBoston.com.

Chris Forsberg

Celtics reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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