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Garnett, Perkins To Return Soon

January 12, 2011

Doc Rivers is being very cautious over Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins and you have to agree with him. The Celtics are pretty much a lock for playoffs , but want the freshest team out there for the stretch run. However, the East will be stacked and having a 1 or 2 seed will be key this year.


Though Celtics coach Doc Rivers is confident that Kevin Garnett is now healthy enough to play after straining his right calf two weeks ago in Detroit, Garnett sat out yesterday’s practice and will likely miss tonight’s game against the Kings.

“I just don’t think he should play yet,’’ Rivers said. “He did some running on the treadmill and did all the stuff in the weight room. We were on the floor. We went full-court. So he couldn’t.

“I just don’t think he’s ready yet.’’

Though the injury appeared to be serious as Garnett limped off the floor, the Celtics almost immediately said they expected him to return in two weeks. Having reached that point, Rivers said he expects Garnett to play this week, calling him day-to-day. The Celtics play the Bobcats Friday night, the third of six straight home games.

The Celtics are 4-4 since Garnett’s injury. They’ve lost two straight, after the Rockets handed them a 108-102 loss Monday night. Houston was the fourth team to hang 100 points on the Celtics in Garnett’s absence.

But Rivers doesn’t think the team’s struggles come from waiting for Garnett’s return.

“They may be, but I don’t sense that,’’ Rivers said. “This is just a low-focus stretch. It happens, but we’ve got to stay on top of it, that it doesn’t happen.

“It’s that time of year. Almost the All-Star break. After the holidays. But this is the time, that mental toughness that I’m talking about that we have to lean on.’’

The Celtics have been playing the waiting game with a handful of players. Kendrick Perkins, recovering from a torn ACL, was cleared to practice yesterday, but Rivers decided to hold him out because the session was so physical.

“We went pretty hard, so I didn’t want him out there in that,’’ said Rivers. “But he did the skeleton stuff and he did some running up and down. We did a lot of contact stuff and I didn’t want him to be a part of that.’’

Perkins expects to return to full practice in a week and be back in games in three weeks.

“Another week and they’ll slowly put me in,’’ Perkins said. “I’m just anxious to get back out there.’’

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