By A. Sherrod Blakely
BOSTON Kevin Garnett missed his eighth straight game against the Kings, and he may miss more.
He's not alone.
The C's were also without Jermaine O'Neal, whose left knee continues to prevent him from suiting up regularly for the Celtics.
While the C's count on both to contribute, Garnett's injury is the one of greater concern right now. The Celtics' defensive catalyst has missed eight straight games because of a right calf strain injury.
Bostonhad initially said Garnett would be out a couple of weeks, withWednesday night's game marking the two-week anniversary of his injurywhich occurred Dec. 29 at Detroit.
Coach Doc Rivers said Garnett wouldprobably not play on Friday against Charlotte, but there's achance he'll return to action on Monday against Orlando.
Thelonger Garnett stays out -- especially considering how Garnett's right knee injury a coupleyears ago snowballed into him missing 25 regular-season games and theentire playoffs -- the more likely Celtics fans are to starttheorizing that his injury is worse than the C's are letting on.
"It'sno conspiracy or anything like that," Rivers said. "It's just taking alittle longer than we wanted it to. But it's not a big deal."
When asked whether there was a concern that the injury might linger deep into the season, Rivers responded, "No."
He added, "No one has told me to worry about that. Eddie Lacerte, the C's head trainer is really nonchalant about it."
When asked what has prevented him Garnett suiting up by now, Rivers said, "I don't know. It's as simple as my conversation with Eddie. I ask 'Is he ready to go?' And he says, 'If it was a playoff game, then yes, but I would hold him out a couple more days.' "
As for O'Neal, it was the 21st game of the season he has missed due to injury.
Rivers said O'Neal's left knee was swollen Wednesday morning. It is unclear when O'Neal will return to action.