By Ben Golliver
Celtics officials announced Monday that forward/center Kevin Garnett will miss some time down the stretch.
Team president Danny Ainge said that Garnett is suffering from inflammation in his left ankle and could sit out for up to two weeks as the Celtics prepare for the playoffs, according to the Boston Herald.
ESPNBoston.com reported that Ainge said he believed Garnett initially suffered the injury during a Wednesday night loss to the Hornets. Garnett played 29 minutes in a Friday night loss to the Mavericks and sat out a Saturday loss to the Grizzlies before undergoing an MRI.
CSNNE.com reported that coach Doc Rivers said that the MRI checked out, but that Garnett would likely miss an extended period of time.
When asked if he thought Garnett would be out long term, Rivers said, "I don't know what long-term is. If you mean that he's not going to play this year? No, I don't worry about that. But can he miss four or five games? Yeah, that's probably possible. I don't know that. So to me, that's not a concern.
"At the end of the day he may miss some games. We're going to [err] on the right side; whatever they decide. If they give me an option you can play him every third game or give him two week's rest, I can tell you right now, I'm going to say two weeks rest if it's my decision. They usually never leave it up to me. But if it was my decision, that's where I would go. Because at the end of the day, I want him right. I don't want him half right."
Boston has lost four straight games but remains in the No. 7 playoff position in the Eastern Conference with a record of 36-33 and a little more than three weeks remaining in the regular season. Should Garnett miss two weeks, he would be sidelined for Boston's next nine games, returning in time for the Celtics' last four games of the regular season.
With the Knicks and Pacers deadlocked for the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds, Boston isn't yet in a position to dictate first-round matchups, although there is one major playoff consideration at play here. The Celtics are two games up on the No. 8 seed Bucks and finishing in the bottom playoff position would bring a date with the Heat, who are currently riding a 26-game winning streak. Delaying that matchup as long as possible would seem to be everyone's clear preference. The good news for Boston is that Milwaukee has lost three straight and six of their last eight games. One would think that Garnett can rest up comfortably as long as Milwaukee keeps losing. Garnett, 36, is averaging 14.9 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.1 steals per game this season. Boston is 2-2 when he is out of the lineup this season and Rivers has promoted Jeff Green to the starting lineup in Garnett's absence. The 15-time All-Star is in the first year of a three-year, $36 million contract and he indicated in February that he wants to "retire a Celtic."