NEW YORK - On Opening Day, the Celtics already were dealing with injuries. Paul Pierce reported to Madison Square Garden yesterday and didn’t even bother to work out.
Pierce missed most of training camp with a bone bruise in his right heel, which is mending slowly. He was expected to test the foot before making a decision, but he never got into his practice gear.
“Knowing that the season is so [long], with back-to-back games, it just wouldn’t be worth it to go out there and have any setbacks today,’’ said Pierce. “Google ‘bone bruises’ and you know it’ll say it can be anywhere between three days, a week, three months, depending on the amount of pain in there.
“I don’t see it being a month or two. Right now I’m day to day. And that’s the reason I came on the trip.’’
The Celtics suffered greatly without Pierce in their 106-104 loss to the Knicks. The combination of Marquis Daniels (4 points) and Sasha Pavlovic (0 points) provided little offense and could not check Carmelo Anthony (37 points).
Pierce is preaching patience with the injury, which prevents him from sprinting the court.
“I think the key for us is just being healthy when it’s time to be healthy,’’ he said. “That’s the biggest issue that’s been surrounding us over the past two or three years, regardless of the start, regardless of the seed.
“Of course, we’d like to be a No. 1 seed going into the playoffs and have home-court advantage. But the most important thing for this team is to be healthy.’’
Pietrus on deck
Newly signed Mickael Pietrus was not with the team yesterday, but is expected to take his physical today and could join the Celtics tomorrow in Miami.
The club needs depth at small forward with Pierce down and Jeff Green out for the season with a heart condition.
“I think he’d be a great addition,’’ Pierce said. “You look at the Eastern Conference, the plethora of great wing players. It’s nice to have another guy you can add to the mix who’s a pretty good defender, who can knock down 3-pointers.’’
Garnett, Walker spar
The NBA will review video of an altercation between Kevin Garnett and former Celtic Bill Walker at the end of yesterday’s game. It flared up after Garnett missed the potential tying jumper while being defended by Walker in the final seconds.
After the buzzer, Walker approached Garnett, mouthing off, and Garnett responded with an open-hand push near the throat.
The two were separated, and after the game Garnett refused to answer questions about the scrape, though Walker addressed it.
“I went to contest his shot and I guess he got mad,’’ said Walker. “He grabbed me by the hand and tangled it up. I pulled it away and we had a situation.
“Would you want me to put my hand on your face and push you? It’s disrespectful.’’
Celtics coach Doc Rivers said, “I didn’t see what happened. Me and [Knicks coach] Mike [D’Antoni] were shaking hands and then we saw the skirmish.’’
Along for the ride
Green made the trip to New York and watched video in the locker room before the game. It is uncertain whether Green will travel with the team up until his Jan. 9 surgery to repair an aortic aneurysm, but that was a sign that the Celtics want him to return next season . . . New York rookie Iman Shumpert left the game with a sprained medial collateral ligament after a first-half collision with the Celtics’ Chris Wilcox. The Knicks said he will miss 2-4 weeks . . . Rivers used Avery Bradley at shooting guard in stretches and also as a defender on point guards. He did not score in nine minutes . . . Rivers used 11 of his 13 active players . . . Rajon Rondo (31 points) finished a point shy of his career high.