The Celtics said yesterday they will replace the parquet floor they have used for 53 years--but only until the usable scraps of wood can be salvaged for a new high-tech floor that will resemble the old.

"We want people to walk into the FleetCenter and know that they're still seeing the Celtics," said Randy Randjelovic, a technical manager from Connor Sports Flooring Corporation, which is making the new floor.

The Celtics will retire the old floor on Dec. 22, giving it a ceremony usually reserved for retiring greats and championship banner-raisings. The new floor is expected to be in place for their first game of the new year, on Jan. 3 against the Cavaliers.

It will also have a leprechaun at center court.

Pacers Coach and former Celtics star Larry Bird, who played half of his Hall of Fame career on the old parquet, said before last night's game against the Celtics that he wasn't sentimental about the surface.

"Now, if they replaced the rims, it would be a little bit different," he said.

The old floor, which cost $11,000, was a distinctive feature of Boston Garden, where the Celtics played until they moved to FleetCenter in 1996.

MOVES: The Trail Blazers placed G Bonzi Wells on the injured list because of a sprained left knee and activated G Gary Grant. . . . The 76ers placed C Stanley Roberts on the injured list because of a lower back strain and activated F Tyrone Hill.