As the Celtics enjoy their well deserved 4 day respite until next Wednesday’s tilt with New Jersey, there is still news swirling on the Kevin Garnett front. Here’s an excerpt from Marc Spears’ piece in The Globe this morning on his situation:
Unfortunately for the Celtics, Garnett won’t be back practicing when they get back on the court tomorrow. He was slated to return to action next Sunday at Cleveland, but Rivers said he doesn’t expect him to return to practice this week, thus putting his return up in the air.
“Hopefully, we can get Kevin back practicing, not this week but right after that,” Rivers said.
Doc’s admittance that KG won’t practice this week is telling in my eyes for a couple reasons. First off, it makes it more probable that The Big Ticket will be missing the rest of the regular season. My educated guess is that Doc is not going to let KG play in a game until he practices. The final week of the schedule, the Celtics schedule looks like this:
Sunday: @ Cleveland
Tuesday: @ Philadelphia
Wednesday: vs. Washington
Now I’m intrigued to know when the Celtics would practice during that week. I guess Doc could hold a practice on Monday, but given the C’s have 3 games in 4 days, I would consider it unlikely. So if number 5 plans on returning during these last couple games it will have to be without practice (doubtful to happen) or the more likely scenario which is KG won’t be returning during the regular season.
Clearly this is mostly speculation at this point, but I would not be upset at all if this scenario were to occur. I touched upon this situation last week and also when I appeared in a NBA Today podcast last Wednesday but I will reiterate my stance that KG sitting out the rest of the regular season could be a good thing.
In my mind, there is every reason imaginable for Doc and Danny to be overly cautious with KG right now. The Celtics have very little to gain ( earning the 2nd seed) compared to what they have to lose (another setback with the injury) if Garnett were to return before the playoffs.
This team without KG at 100 percent should have no trouble dismissing any potential 1st round opponent. Clearly it would be nice if KG had a game or two under his belt before the playoffs begin but I don’t think its necessary. Might it take longer with KG at 80-90 percent and shaking off some rust to win in the 1st round? You bet. But the Celtics would still win that series, and win rather easily.
I guess the more disturbing news about this whole situation is that it shows the magnititude of the soreness of KG’s knee. Doc and Danny have put on a strong front about the setback, stating how they would be “shocked” if KG did not play in the 1st round. That’s fine that they did that, it’s in their best interest to be optimistic about their star’s prognosis.
However it is probable that no one really knows (outside of the organization) the severity of KG’s knee injury. An extended absence for the rest of the regular season could be the Celts playing it safe with the knee which is a smart move. The problem is that it could also be a sign the injury is worse than any of us know. I, along with all Celtics fans pray it’s the former, but even those with a positive outlook on KG’s ability to return to full strength this year have to be disturbed by these latest developments.