Celtics' Pierce Stabbed Repeatedly

Monday, September 25th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

BOSTON (AP) — Paul Pierce of the Boston Celtics was stabbed in the face, neck and back while in the pool room of a nightclub early Monday and was listed in fair condition.

The 22-year-old player underwent surgery, Boston radio station WEEI-AM said, quoting an unidentified hospital source. New England Medical Center would not release information except to list his condition.

``He's doing fine. We're all hoping for a speedy recovery,'' coach Rick Pitino said as he left the hospital.

Pierce, a cornerstone of the struggling team, was stabbed about 1 a.m. while at a private event at the Buzz Club in the city's theater district, police spokeswoman Mariellen Burns said.

She added that he apparently was with several friends, including at least one teammate she did not identify. The friends drove Pierce to the hospital.

Police said they were investigating witness reports that the fight involved people connected to the rap group Made Men. There were no immediate arrests.

``We're not sure what the altercation was about,'' Burns said. ``We're not even sure Mr. Pierce and his friends were involved in what this altercation was about.''

Former Celtics star and coach Tommy Heinsohn said Pierce had been wearing a leather jacket, which helped protect him. Burns could not confirm that.

The nightclub, which operates under different names at different times of the week, would be cited for allowing an attack on its premises, Burns said. She said there have been several other violations, including at least two assaults, at the club in the past year.

Pierce was to report for the start of training camp next Monday. He apparently was in Massachusetts to participate in Red Auerbach's charity golf tournament, which was held Monday in Salem.

``He was very lucky,'' said K.C. Jones, a former Celtics standout and coach. ``He had the angels on his side.''

Pierce, 6-foot-7 and 220 pounds, averaged 19.5 points for the Celtics last season. He ranks second in the NBA in steals per game with 2.08.

Pierce, Boston's most complete player, played forward and guard last season for a team trying to break a streak of five seasons without making the playoffs.

He is one of the few mainstays on a club that has undergone considerable change since Pitino became coach before the 1997-98 season. Pierce is an outstanding defender and aggressive rebounder with good shooting range.

Pierce, an All-American at Kansas, was drafted in the first round in 1998 after his junior season.

As a rookie, he was 10th in NBA three-point field goal percentage and averaged 16.5 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.71 steals in 34 minutes a game.

Last season, his 19.5 points and 35.4 minutes per game were both second on the team, trailing Antoine Walker. He was second in the NBA in steals per game with 2.08.