Celtics Forward Paul Pierce Stabbed

B O S T O N, Sept. 25, 2000 -- Paul Pierce of the Boston Celtics was stabbed in the face, neck and back while in the pool room of a nightclub early today 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,” said Celtics head coach Rick Pitino, speaking briefly to reporters as he left the hospital today.

Pierce was stabbed at 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.

No Arrests Made

Police said they were investigating witness reports that the fight involved people connected to the local 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 said she could not confirm that information.

The nightclub, which operates under different names at different times of the week, would be cited for allowing an assault and battery 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 being held today in Salem.

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

Cornerstone of Celtics Team

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. He is the cornerstone of a team trying to break a streak of five seasons without making the playoffs.

He is one of the few mainstays on a team 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.