KG Returns to Practice, Says Foot is 'Better'
WALTHAM, Mass. – Twelve days have passed since Danny Ainge announced to the media that Kevin Garnett was likely to miss two weeks with inflammation in his left foot. Today is Day 13, and Garnett is finally back on the floor.
Garnett practiced with the team for the first time since he suffered the injury on March 22 in Dallas. He has been rehabbing ever since and has progressed enough to return to the floor without limitations.
“Obviously rest is always a good thing for me,” Garnett said on Saturday. “I’ve been able to get multiple treatments a day on my foot. I’m getting better.“
There has been some confusion over the past couple of weeks as to what Garnett has actually been rehabbing. Some have termed it an ‘ankle’ issue, while others have termed it a generic ‘foot’ issue. Speaking for the first time since the injury arose, Garnett clarified exactly what he has been experiencing.
“My foot. I have some issues with my foot. Like the motion of if you were pressing, pushing the pedal, or you were pushing the gas pedal,” Garnett said while motioning with his hand as if it were a pedal in a car.
That motion of pushing down is what every human being does when they run or jump. As Garnett made clear, this is an injury that drastically affects the abilities of a basketball player.
“It’s an issue,” KG said. “If it wasn’t, I wouldn’t be out.”
Garnett went on to indicate that the injury had altered much more than his basketball routine. His comments implied that the foot problems have hampered him in almost every facet of everyday life.
“I’ve always been able to put mind over matter with certain things,” he said, “and then when I wasn’t able to do common things like walk, get in my car, drive myself… that’s an issue.”
Multiple rehab sessions every day over the past couple of weeks have helped Garnett return to some semblance of normalcy. His everyday life is back and now he has returned to full basketball activity. That’s good news for the Celtics, because they need KG on the floor as much as possible before the playoffs begin two weeks from now.
The need to get Garnett back on the floor is twofold. First of all, Boston has experienced slippage in many areas without their defensive stalwart in the lineup. Secondly, Garnett is the type of player who needs time to shake off rust.
The C’s have gone 3-5 over the past eight games while Garnett was on the mend. They allowed an average of 101.6 points per game in those contests. That’s very un-Celtic like defense.
Garnett’s presence will surely help to change that. Opponents have shot just 43.1 percent from the field this season while KG has been on the floor. Additionally, the Celtics allow 7.7 less points per 100 possessions while Garnett is in the game.
The defensive impact of No. 5 is dramatic and will always be felt. Offense, however, is what the Celtics may need to worry about in the initial days of KG’s return.
Since joining the Celtics in 2007-08, Garnett has not been his typical self after having six or more days off. He has played 11 games under such circumstances and averaged just 12.7 PPG on 46.3 percent shooting during those contests. Compare those numbers to his overall averages of 15.8 PPG and 52.1 percent shooting in six seasons with the C’s and you’ll notice an alarming difference.
This trend is no secret to Garnett’s coach, Doc Rivers. Rivers understands that Garnett is the type of player who needs time to regain his rhythm.
“I’ve always said that,” Rivers explained. “Kevin is a systematic player. He’s like Ewing in a lot of ways. When I played with Patrick… If Patrick didn’t practice he was going to be awful in the game. Kevin can not practice and still play; Patrick (couldn’t). It was amazing.
“A lot of the great ones are that way, because they get in their routine and once they get out of their routine it takes them a little bit to get back into it.”
Saturday was the day Garnett was finally able to get back into his routine. As long as he continues to progress without setbacks, he’ll have a full two weeks to ramp up for yet another playoff run.