Kevin Garnett likely to miss playoffs

The Big Three is down to two.

The Boston Celtics suffered a huge blow on Thursday when it was announced that Kevin Garnett could miss the playoffs with a sprained knee.

WALTHAM, Mass. — The Big Three is down to two.

Celtics star Kevin Garnett, the centrepiece of Boston’s 2008 championship and a key to its hopes of a repeat, could miss the playoffs because of a knee injury that has limited him to four games over the final two months of the season.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers said Thursday that Garnett will not be ready for Game 1 against the Chicago Bulls and possibly won’t be back at all.

“It’s not official that he’s out for the entire playoffs, but it’s official as far as I’m concerned,” Rivers said before practice at the team’s workout facility. “I just don’t see how.

“I hope I’m wrong, but I just don’t see it.”

Garnett has been the Celtics’ inspirational leader since joining them in a 2007 trade that completed the new Big Three and propelled the franchise to its record 17th NBA title. He averaged 15.8 and 8.5 rebounds per game for the defending champions this season.

“I’m devastated for him,” Celtics guard Ray Allen said. “This is the time of year you’ve been waiting for.”

Garnett injured his right knee Feb. 19 and missed the next 13 games before returning for four and playing a total of 66 minutes, 18 seconds. With the Celtics assured of a high playoff berth, Rivers then held Garnett out with an eye toward bringing him back for the last three games of the regular season; that became the last two, then the last one, but he never made it back.

Rivers said Thursday he watched Garnett run at the team’s practice facility and said he had to shut him down after 20 minutes because his leg was locking up. Rivers knew he made the right call when Garnett didn’t put up a fight.

“He’s done everything he could do to get back on the floor,” the coach said. “You could tell he was trying to mask that there was pain.”

Boston was 18-7 without Garnett this year and finished the season 62-20 — second in the Eastern Conference, but not good enough to secure the home-court advantage that proved crucial in last year’s title run.

Should the Celtics meet the Cavaliers in the conference final, they would open the series in Cleveland; the Los Angeles Lakers also would have home-court in a potential NBA finals matchup.

But, without Garnett, what had seemed like an easy road through the early rounds has gotten more difficult.

“If you get to the last game and hoist another banner, the adversity makes it that much sweeter,” Allen said. “We’ve got to find that formula. So we look forward to it.”

Garnett was at the team’s practice facility on Thursday but did not want to talk to reporters, Rivers said.

At their practice facility in Deerfield, Ill., the Bulls weren’t buying it.

“Knowing him, he’ll play if his leg is broke,” Chicago guard Derrick Rose said.

Even without Garnett, the Bulls would have to prepare for a defending champion with two all-stars — Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, a speedy point guard in Rajon Rondo and Glen (Big Baby) Davis, who has been coming on since replacing Garnett in the lineup.

But it won’t be the same.

“Whenever you take a guy like that out, your team’s just not going to be as good,” Del Negro said. “Talent is talent. Kevin . . . has found his niche in Boston with Ray and Paul, and they won a championship. They’re a different team, no question, but they’re still very potent. They’ve won over 60 games and probably would have won close to 70 if he was healthy.”

Just Posted

Celebrating 4-20 in Red Deer

For years, 4-20 was a time to protest for the legalization of… Continue reading

Optimism remains for Red Deer hospital expansion

Red Deer’s incoming UCP MLAs both have been strong supporters of expansion

Sport of axe throwing growing in Red Deer

True North Axe Throwing wants sport to be ‘Canadian version of darts’

RDC cancels championship-winning golf program due to tight finances

Short season, small number of student golfers were also considerations

WATCH: An ‘Eggstemely Fun Easter’ at Bower Place in Red Deer

Bower Place mall made sure Red Deer families were able to have… Continue reading

Dozens hurt in collapse of deck during wedding celebration in Langley, B.C.

LANGLEY, B.C. — Police say dozens of people were injured, some critically,… Continue reading

No winning ticket for Friday night’s $25 million Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — No winning ticket was sold for the $25.5 million jackpot… Continue reading

Uber driver charged in two sexual assault investigations: Toronto police

Toronto police say an Uber driver is facing sexual assault charges in… Continue reading

PEI Green party candidate Josh Underhay and son killed in canoeing accident

CHARLOTTETOWN — With only a few days before voters were to go… Continue reading

Egyptians vote on changes that would extend el-Sissi’s rule

CAIRO — Egyptians cast their ballots Saturday on the first of three… Continue reading

Ex-Marine arrested in North Korea embassy attack in Madrid

WASHINGTON — A man suspected of involvement in a mysterious dissident group’s… Continue reading

New bout of heavy fighting in Yemen kills dozens

SANAA, Yemen — Yemeni officials say heavy fighting in Yemen’s southern Dhale… Continue reading

Most Read