Post-game Reactions

Kevin Garnett’s knee is undamaged.

The prognosis is encouraging.

At least the official word on the not-yet-official prognosis is encouraging, as I type this at 3:15 a.m. EST on the second last day of the year.

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.



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:

Shaquille O’Neal

Glen Davis

Jermaine O’Neal

Semih Erden

Luke Harangody

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.

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Ryan DeGama

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  • ego roots

    Ugh. Here we go again… The Nightmare After Christmas Part 3

  • CelticNut

    The scariest part of all this is that we're now stuck counting on Jermaine O'Neal. That guy is a bum, a loser, a fraud, a cancer- whatever you want to call him. He was overrated, now he's washed up. I've known this all along. I pray that he proves me wrong in January!

  • bgt

    Let''s not feel too good about this. He still hurt the "bad" leg, all these parts are attached, and there is presumably a reason that the bad leg was the one that got hurt. What it probably means is that we won't really get the old KG back, despite the encouraging prospects early in the season.

  • john schaffer

    i agree with celtic nut ,,jermaine oneii am an old guy whos been following celtics al my life , Jermaine Oneal is the biggest waste of money , 56,275.00 per game and hes played in 7 games ,, he wants to coeet money just like a seven footer last year who then took retirement and is paid 2 more years of 6 million each, heck play semih least he wants to play .but being a rookiwe doc wont play or depend upon him

  • the celtics are reporting now (via their twitter page) that its a muscle injury on his right leg. http://twitter.com/#!/celtics/statuses/2032792092
    below the knee and above the ankle
    i think its the muscle above the shin on the outside front of the leg. if you jump with your toes pointing inwards it puts huge straing on the muscle at the top right (looking down) of the shin.
    another thing it could be, judging on how he went up for the dunk (which seems to be the problem) is the Achilles or a muscle around there. I think the main difference from this one and the utah one is that he was already obviously nursing something undeclared at utah, hence the knee brace already there, and two on that dunk he goes up regularly, here his toe is heavily indented. Both of those things make it a lot better off this time when he is fully recovered from any injury and went up awkwardly. hopefully he just gets a few days off, which might be a good kick in the arse for the team anyway.
    i think we should consider starting JO at the 4 with shaq at 5, that way jermaine can jump start his season getting big minutes and he wont have as much of a burden to score as he will with the second unit, otherwise i dont see how he is going to start being effective for us, he doesnt seem bothered at the moment.

    • Batman

      Yeah i want to see Jermaine start at the 4
      I think Glen would be of more use as a 6th man

  • TedL

    damn. i got nothing more than that. just damn.