Kevin Garnett is getting close. Really close. As the regular season winds down, Doc Rivers announced at today’s practice Garnett could return to the lineup as soon as Sunday, after sitting out the past seven games due to left ankle inflammation.
“I think he’ll be back, maybe as early as Sunday, but I don’t know yet,” Rivers told CelticsHub and other reporters. “He’s not going to do anything today. He’s doing all the running and stuff in (the team’s practice facilities) and he’ll do some court stuff without the team. And he’ll probably participate in the shootaround (Friday), but I’m not going to play him (Friday), even if he wants to play.”
Garnett was at practice today, along with Rajon Rondo, Jared Sullinger and the rest of his teammates, as the team welcomed members of the Air Force for a visit. The team and service members exchanged words and posed for pictures, as the Air Force presented the team with a USA flag in thanks for their support during what was a very cool moment.
A few other practice notes out of Waltham with injury updates on Paul Pierce, and the newly injured Terrence Williams.
Pierce and Jason Terry (rest/old age) will get a day off from practice today. Pierce is still battling a sore right ankle suffered earlier this week. He was hobbling a little bit around the practice floor. Definitely something to monitor in the upcoming days, as the Celtics would certainly like to wrap up a 7th seed sooner than later, but they’ll need Pierce to do that, even against inferior opponents like the Cavaliers.
“We’ll see how it feels,” Pierce said. “If we played today I probably wouldn’t be able to go, unless it was a playoff game. The key right now is for us to all get healthy going into the playoffs.”
The other player on the mend was Williams. The former Louisville star suffered a dislocated right pinky during the second quarter last night. His halftime x-ray came up negative, and he had the finger taped today as he planned to try to practice and play through the injury.
Will the injury slow Williams down? Potentially. However, he’s going to do whatever he can to do to play through it.
“You gotta cut my hand off for me to actually say I’m not going to play basketball,” he said. “If you have to tape my finger with all the electric tape you can find, and I’m going to still play. So it doesn’t change. It’s not like I shoot 15 shots. I can pass still with two hands or my left hand, so it don’t really disappoint me, it just hurt.”
The other big news out of practice today was the followup admission from Rivers that Jeff Green will likely stay in the starting lineup once Garnett returns to the lineup. We’ll have more on that possibility later today, but Green’s success and consistency in the starting five has convinced Doc that this is the way to go moving forward. Whether the Celtics will go big (Bradley/Green/Pierce/Bass/KG) or small with Courtney Lee starting in place of Bass remains to be seen.
For now, Green is the starting five appears to be here to stay though.