WALTHAM -- When asked about Kevin Garnetts hip flexor, Celtics head coach Doc Rivers paused.
Oh I thought you asked, was he hip? he said, adding a joke. I was going to say no to that, would be my answer.
Turns out Rivers has better reviews on Garnetts health than his fashion sense.
Garnett missed Tuesdays game against the Miami Heat with a hip flexor. He returned on Thursday against the Milwaukee Bucks, posting four points, three assists, two rebounds, and a steal in 11 minutes.Rivers expects Garnett to be able to play through the injury in the postseason.
I think hes good, said Rivers. The hip flexor is always going to be an issue with him. Once that thing starts, youve been around long enough, it never stops. It just kind of doesnt hurt as much. Thats a painful injury. But the good thing about that injury is you can keep playing. It just hurts.
Rivers will manage Garnetts minutes the same way he has all season. His 5-5-5 plan of five minutes in, five minutes out for Garnett has paid off.
Garnett, who turns 36 in May, is averaging 15.8 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 2.9 assists this season, his highest scoring average since the 2008-09 season and highest assist average since 2007-08.
He missed just six of 66 games this season, which includes games in which Rivers rested his starters down the stretch. Garnett sat out less than ten games this regular season for the first time during his career with the Celtics.
I think its been great, Rivers said of the strategy to manage Garnetts minutes. Honestly, Im kicking myself three years now, really. I wish I had done that with him at least a year earlier. I think its really helped him. He doesnt pace himself. He knows how hard he can go. You couldnt do that with more than one guy, youd be a revolving chair. But if you can designate a guy or maybe two a year to do that, thats something Ive really fallen in love with. I think its a good thing for the older guys.