Kevin Garnett’s knee is undamaged.
The prognosis is encouraging.
It’s just a calf injury, a muscle injury, and perhaps a moderate one at that. Even Coach Doc Rivers sounded nonplussed about the whole thing, saying he didn’t think the injury was very serious.
So, let’s go with that.
Garnett’s knee is undamaged and the injury that drove him from the Celtics’ loss to the Pistons last night cannot be connected in a straight line, medically speaking, to the one that wiped out the end of his 2008-09 season and the C’s chances for a repeat.
Of course, that’s intellectualizing the issue. And while there’s great fun to be had running statistics through your mind and arguing about who’s the best point guard in the league, above all, I think, we watch for visceral reasons, for emotional ones.
The highs – like ending a 22-year championship drought – can be thrilling.
And the lows, like last night…
They can be devastating.
Pretty much every Celtics fan watching at home or commenting on any Celtics message board or blog felt their stomach sink last night when Garnett injured himself without any contact on an open dunk. There is no escaping the reality of what a season-ending injury to KG would mean to the Celtics’ title hopes, if not the entire big three era.
Should you wish to experience that horrifying feeling again, footage of the injury is right here:
That queasy feeling will get worse if you go back two years and compare the injury suffered last night to the one from the Utah game, where Garnett went up unmolested for a dunk and came crashing down for an 18-month rehab (much of it on the court).
The two plays are eerily similar:
It’s immaterial to anyone’s emotional response that the two injuries appear different in both actual damage rendered and precedence. Garnett was playing with known bone spurs during the 2008-09 season, though the magnitude of the injury to his knee wasn’t fully known until the surgery to repair it took place. That’s a far cry from this season, where we’ve gone through two blissful months of positive health reports, talk of lift and bounce and references to epic KG performances of years past.
And so, as we sit here waiting for confirmation that the Celtics’ title drive remains alive, and merely faces another large bump in the road, Celtics fans will cling to the reports that surfaced as the game concluded.
Kevin Garnett’s knee is undamaged.
MAYBE THEY ARE GOING TO HAVE TO BRING BACK ANTOINE WALKER
Putting aside any concerns about the longterm ramifications of KG’s injury, there’s plenty to worry about in the short term. It seems a dead certainty that Garnett will miss a few games or a few weeks and the Celtics walking wounded list needs not another occupant.
The Celtics’ big man depth chart now looks like this:
Assuming Davis and Shaq start, J.O. must provide quality minutes off the bench, not least in part because Erden has been battling illness and Shaq has been relatively ineffective lately. Of course, up until last night’s 7 points and 6 rebounds, J.O. wishes he could be called relatively ineffective.
If either O’Neal gets hurt or proves incapable of productive minutes, how comfortable are the Celtics dipping down to Harangody for regular run? They may be one more injury away from a D-League call-up. Too bad Stephane Lasme is still hurt.
The real upside here is the return of Rajon Rondo, if not for tomorrow afternoon’s matinee against New Orleans, then soon after. But January is looking more and more like a month the Celtics will have to survive (check back with us on January 1st and we’ll go over the specifics of the schedule in detail). The best-case scenario now involves getting through 17 games over the next 32 days in shouting distance of the top seed in the east and without any new injuries. If the C’s can do that, and build a bridge to the returns of Delonte West and Kendrick Perkins, the cart could just barely stay on the path. If not, all that dismissive talk about last year’s team and its withering .500 finish to the season, well, we may have to revisit the reasons that happened.
Meet the new season, same as the old season.
Banner #18 – nobody said it was gonna be easy, folks.