WALTHAM, Mass. — Throughout the first three weeks of the NBA playoffs, the Celtics had enjoyed their healthiest stretch of the season to date. Perfect timing.
They should have known it wouldn't last.
When the Celtics returned to their practice facility in Waltham on Wednesday afternoon, both Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins were missing in action, while backup big men Rasheed Wallace and Glen Davis were on the floor with the starting unit. Word was handed down from the team that Garnett was nursing a strained right mid-foot, while Perkins had a strained right knee.
The Celtics are optimistic that both guys will be back on the floor for Friday night's home Game 3 against the Cleveland Cavaliers. As for getting in any mid-week workouts prior to that game, the prognosis isn't so clear.
"Kevin hurt his ankle pretty good," coach Doc Rivers said on Wednesday. "Honestly, [on Wednesday] if we'd had a game, I don't think he could have played. So we'll just have to wait. I doubt he practices [on Thursday]. We'll see."
While Garnett himself wasn't available to comment on the injury, Perkins was, and he saw things a little differently.
"KG wanted to practice," Perkins said. "He was mad Doc made him sit out. But hopefully we all can have a good practice [on Thursday] and get ready for Friday."
In Perkins' case, the injury has been a problem all week. The Celtics' center said he felt pain in his knee during the team's Monday morning shootaround in Cleveland before Game 2. He told the media he was running up the floor that morning, and "I guess I was just being clumsy — it just happened."
Perkins is eager to get back on the floor.
"I'll be ready [for Game 3]," Perkins said. "I'm going to play regardless. I'm glad we have a few days of rest. Hopefully I can practice [Thursday]."
Again, there was a little disagreement over who practiced when.
Even though Perkins played over 30 minutes with the injury on Monday night, finishing with 10 points and nine rebounds, Rivers expressed caution about his young big man.
"I don't know if he can practice [Thursday]," Rivers said of Perkins. "We'll just see by Friday."
Both the Celtics and Cavaliers will benefit from having three days off in between Games 2 and 3. While the C's are keeping a close eye on Garnett and Perkins going forward, the Cavs are also watching over the strained elbow of LeBron James and the back spasms of Anderson Varejao.
"We were complaining, and now it turns out that the rest is good for everybody," Rivers said. "It's probably good for Cleveland, too — they have a chance to get healthy. And it'll hopefully be good enough for us."
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