Kevin Garnett is as competitive as they come. You can bet your bottom dollar that as long as he's got four limbs intact, he wants to be out there. But his coach has other plans, and he'll have to deal.
"He's just not ready yet," coach Doc Rivers said of Garnett. "It's close, very close, but you know how I am with that. I think he wants to play, I'll put it that way, but I don't think he should play."
Garnett has been out for the last seven games with a lower leg injury, and the Celtics are 4-3. If you include the Dec. 29 game in Detroit, which the C's lost after Garnett went down in the first quarter, they're a .500 basketball team in eight games.
The initial prognosis was two weeks — and do the math. That means Garnett should be in action Wednesday night, when the C's take on the Sacramento Kings at the TD Garden. But on this Celtic team, what theoretically should happen is often far from reality.
Garnett is working to return. He's running on the treadmill behind the scenes, doing everything he can to maintain game shape. He's considered by Rivers and the Celtics to be day-to-day.
"He's at every game," Rivers said. "Kevin has not missed a game. He just doesn't come out on the floor — he's in the locker room. He's in the locker room before the game, he's in the locker room at halftime and he talks to the guys after the game. So he's around — he just doesn't like to be seen."
When they had KG for the first 30 games of this season, the Celtics were world-beaters. Now they're water-treaders.
If Garnett returns Wednesday against the Kings, the team will surely get a lift. But if KG doesn't get back, the C's will have to keep chugging along.