Over the past two days, Danny Ainge has opened up about Kevin Garnett’s injury, discussing when he could return, and why he’s not playing.
This is from Greg Payne’s article on ESPN Boston.
Danny Ainge -
“I don’t think that surgery is inevitable or we need to get through the year and he’s going to go in for surgery right after the year. That’s the difference between (2009) and now,” he said.
“What we’re doing is we’re doing what we think is best for KG’s long-term health, and what’s best for the team,” Ainge said. “Usually it goes hand-in-hand, what’s best for the player, and his future, is usually what’s best for the team as well. But I don’t know if KG could play tonight if tonight was a Game 7 of the NBA Finals. My guess is he probably could. But I don’t know how good he would be. He does have a little bit of a limp, but it doesn’t matter. Right now, it’s best for him not to play on it and aggravate it.”
With Ainge saying that if it was Game 7 of the NBA Finals, that he’s not sure if Garnett could play raises a few alarms. He may say that this isn’t like 2009, but there are some parallels that should concern Celtics fans.
In 2009, it wasn’t the knee injury itself that ultimately ended Garnett’s season, it was bone spurs found in his knee. Considering that the injury that’s keeping him out of games is inflammation in the foot, that is not a good sign. Ray Allen had bone spurs in his foot last season, and the descriptions of Garnett’s injury seem eerily similar to Allen’s injury. There is a visible limp in his walk, and despite Ainge’s assurance that everything is fine, there are legitimate reasons to think otherwise.
Today on his weekly appearance on 93.7 WEEI, Ainge sang a different tune, making it sound like KG just needs some rest.
It’s much better today than it was yesterday and I think he just could use some rest,”
“On top of that, KG has just little nicks, bumps and bruises that could use some healing time. He’s got a sore calf muscle as well. It’s just good for him to take some time off and get fresh. But the biggest concern right now is the inflammation in his foot.”
What should concern Celtics fans is how the team sugar coats injuries, especially with Kevin Garnett. There has been no official timetable for his return, and all of a sudden it seems like the situation is going down the same road as 2009. Earlier this week, Doc Rivers said Garnett would miss four to five games while Ainge said two weeks. The vast differences in the date of return raises questions as to what does the team know.
Back in 2009, Garnett did return for a few games after he injured his knee, but was shut down for the rest of the season without the team officially announcing it until the season was over. Even in the playoffs, the Celtics gave the impression that he could return if the team went far enough, but Garnett had surgery shortly after Boston’s loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
This is definitely something to keep an eye on and see how it all plays out. Garnett is 36 years old. Age is going to be a factor in his recovery process, and if he does need surgery, which doesn’t seem to be the case yet, it could have an effect on his decision to come back to the team next season or call it quits from the game of basketball entirely. Right now, Boston is in the middle of a three-way battle for fifth in the Eastern Conference standings. Without Garnett, the Celtics will have to find all the strength within to propel themselves out of the seventh spot and avoid facing the Indiana Pacers or the Miami Heat in the first round.