Garnett, Pietrus Join List of Injured Celtics

Marc D'Amico
Team Reporter and Analyst

Marc D'Amico
February 14, 2011

WALTHAM, Mass. – The compressed 2011-12 season has been taking its toll on the Boston Celtics, and that toll became even worse on Tuesday.

Brandon Bass is already sidelined for up to two weeks with a sore right knee and Jermaine O’Neal has missed the past two games with a variety of issues. Now the Celtics can add Kevin Garnett (hip flexor) and Mickael Pietrus (knee) to the list of players who aren’t currently available.

Neither Garnett nor Pietrus are expected to be out for long, but Garnett did not participate in Tuesday’s practice session at all. Pietrus, on the other hand, said that he lightly participated in portions of practice and also received treatment on his knee.

Garnett’s injury surfaced during Sunday afternoon’s win over the Chicago Bulls. He reached to his midsection region on several occasions while wincing, and now the pain has increased enough to keep him out of practice. Though Garnett’s injury doesn’t seem to be serious, the timetable for his return has actually become worse over the past two days.

“It’s nothing bad with Kevin,” Doc Rivers said after Tuesday’s practice. “Eddie (Lacerte) really suggested two days off, and then he said today maybe three days off, so we’ll find that out tomorrow.”

The Celtics will take on the Detroit Pistons at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday night, but at the moment they have any idea who will be available to play in that game. Rivers actually claimed that of the trio of Garnett, Bass and Pietrus, Garnett has the best shot at playing Wednesday night. He termed it as a “50-50 chance” for KG.

Pietrus was not on the court for the portion of practice that was open to the media but he did eventually show face and speak to the media after it concluded. He seemed hopeful for tomorrow’s game, but Rivers again stated that the team would not know if Pietrus would be available until tomorrow.

The same can be said for O’Neal, who did fully participate in Tuesday’s practice. He has been nursing a sore left shoulder, a sore left knee and a sore left wrist. The shoulder is what has kept him out of the past two games, but it didn’t keep him out of practice on Tuesday.

“I was able to practice today,” O’Neal told reporters. “It’s still a little sore, but again, at the same time it’s not about being here being 100 percent; it’s about the fact that I’m being able to be out there to help the team more than hurt the team.”

When asked if he would play in Wednesday’s game, he responded, “You worry about the next day when you get to the next day.”

Rivers seems to agree with that assessment pertaining to all of his nicked up players. However, he does expect O’Neal and Keyon Dooling, who has been fighting off a hip pointer that has kept him out of nine of the past 10 games, to be available.

Dooling just returned to action on Sunday and played nine minutes against Chicago. He finished that contest scoreless but did log two rebounds.

Rivers kept a close eye on Dooling throughout Tuesday’s practice and didn’t exactly love what he saw.

“He did OK. I thought as practice went on he struggled a little bit,” Rivers said. “We actually sat him down, and then we put him in back at the end of practice. I was a little worried, honestly, watching him practice.

“We’ll see, but I think he’s going to play. I think he wants to play. But I think as practice went on he started trying to shy away from contact.”

Judging by the way the Celtics have been dinged up all season, it might be a good idea for them all to shy away from contact. But as we all know, that isn’t in the realm of possibility this season. Contact isn’t just happening very few nights 2011-12, it’s happening every other night.

That grind has been taking a toll on the C’s and every other team in the league, but that’s how the cookie crumbles this season. As it has all season long, all Boston can do is treat these injuries as quickly as possible and hope for a speedy and healthy return.