By A. Sherrod Blakely
WALTHAM It looks like the long-awaited return of Kevin Garnett may not be as soon as the Boston Celtics thought.
Wednesday's game against the Sacramento Kings would be within the two-week time frame since he suffered the injury, but coach Doc Rivers said he doubts Garnett will play.
"He's just not ready yet," Rivers said. "He's close, very close."
Such words ring hollow with Celtics fans, remembering all too well similar proclamations made a couple years ago when Garnett was battling a right knee injury that kept him out longer than anyone anticipated.
He ultimately wound up missing 25 games that season, and the entire playoffs.
Not only is he now dealing with a different injury, but the Celtics' approach has changed as well.
While there is concern, it doesn't appear to be the level that we're accustomed to seeing when a star player gets hurt.
Shortly after the injury, an X-ray was taken and it showed no fractured bones. He was later given an MRI, and those results didn't do anything to change their diagnosis that two weeks off should be good enough to help some of that soreness heal.
While Garnett did participate in some of the skeleton offensive sets, he was not on the floor when the Celtics went live.
During that time, he was riding a treadmill in addition to getting in some additional work on the weight room.
Rivers reiterated that he likes what he sees from Garnett thus far.
But not enough to play him, apparently.
"He could play tomorrow," Rivers said. "I don't think he will, but there's a chance."
Rivers had similar doubts earlier this month about Rajon Rondo.
Rondo had missed seven games with a left ankle sprain, and Rivers was expecting him to miss an eighth at Toronto on Jan. 2. Before the game, Rivers said he didn't plan on playing him. But conversations between Rivers, Rondo and team trainer Ed Lacerte, convinced Rivers to give Rondo a shot at playing. The Celtics won with Rondo playing nearly 40 minutes.
No Kevin Garnett means we'll see more of Glen Davis in the starting lineup.
Davis has taken his collective bumps and bruises of late for shooting more than any other Celtic.
Rivers has talked about cutting Davis' minutes back some, and doing so by playing a smaller lineup that included either Marquis Daniels or Nate Robinson.