A few items of interest from around the Boston and national sports media scene:

Just when it appeared that Paul Pierce was ready to return to the court, Steve Bulpett reports today that the Celtics captain was sent home from Detroit after waking up with a high fever and swelling in his elbow – the same elbow he had surgery on over the summer after suffering from bursitis last season. Shira Springer also has an update on the Globe Celtics blog.

This might be the first time that Boston fans are glad that a franchise player is not returning to action, as they continue to root for a Celtics free-fall that they hope will land them the top pick in this June’s NBA draft.

However, Michael Holley continues his stance that Greg Oden will not leave Ohio State at the end of this season, but will stay on for one or perhaps two more seasons. On his midday radio program with Dale Arnold on WEEI today, Holley says he has this “on good authority.” Just something to keep in mind.

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Holley also said today that a trustworthy source told him that Curt Schilling is “woefully out of shape.” He said there are those who worry about his legs and that this could be the reason the Red Sox might be hesitate to give him a contract extension.

Terry Francona held court at Fenway Park today, and Nick Cafardo has a blog entry on the manager’s thoughts as we get ready for Spring Training 2007.

The Big Show guys are also saying that Jonathan Papelbon WILL be the Red Sox closer at some point this season. They’re saying the health issue is just an excuse not to use him in that role. Ordway is insisting that if the Red Sox have issues at closer, Papelbon will be moved to that role.

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  • Richard Sandomir has another look at the Super Bowl broadcast, and gets an answer about why there was no mud on the field despite the heavy rain.
  • Neil Best has given up trying to listen to and critique the Mike and The Mad Dog show each day on WFAN.
  • Barry Horn has more on the Super Bowl broadcast.
  • Jackie MacMullan has a feature on the transformation of Kobe Bryant for ESPN.com.
  • Gregg Easterbrook has his Tuesday Morning Quarterback column.
  • Peter King has suggestions for what the Bears should do about their QB situation and rates the top 15 QB’s in the league in his Tuesday column.
  • Mo Vaughn has been doing some incredible work in New York City.

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Butch Stearns is outraged. On a posting on MyFoxBoston and on WEEI this afternoon, he has been ranting and raving about a Japanese beer commercial featuring new Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka. In the commercial, Matsuzaka guzzles an Asahi beer. Stearns says that the Red Sox should not want one of their players depicted in this manner because it sends the wrong message to kids.

Even though the ad only appears in Japan, Stearns is upset that his kids can look it up on the internet. He says that just because it it legal, it doesn’t make it right. Like burning a flag. (His analogy)

This past weekend Stearns promoted his appearance on the Big Show today, clearly planning on using this bigger stage as an opportunity to further his views on the topic.

This is the ad that has Stearns all worked up, and delivering a harangue every chance he can that Daisuke Matsuzaka is sending the wrong message to his kids and all kids in Red Sox Nation:

So there you go. What do you think?

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Tonight
7:00pm, NESN – Bruins @ Capitals (HD)
7:00pm, ESPN – Michigan @ Ohio State (HD) (Durant last night, Oden tonight)
7:00pm, ESPN2 – St. Joseph’s @ Villanova (HD)
7:30pm, FSN – Celtics @ Pistons
8:00pm, Versus – Wild @ Stars
9:00pm, ESPN – LSU @ Tennessee (HD)

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