BOSTON (CBS) – The Boston Celtics will likely be without Kevin Garnett and Mickael Pietrus Wednesday night when host the Detroit Pistons at the Garden, head coach Doc Rivers announced Tuesday.
Garnett is nursing a sore hip flexor that flared up in Sunday’s win over the Bulls, and did not participate in Tuesday’s practice.
“It’s nothing bad with Kevin,” said Rivers. “But [trainer] Eddy (Lacertte) really suggested two days off, then today he said maybe three days off. We’ll find that out (Wednesday).”
Garnett is the only Celtic to play in every game this season.
Pietrus participated briefly in practice, one of only a few he’s had with the team, but is still feeling pain in his right knee.
Mickael Pietrus On Practice
There was some good news on the injury front from Tuesday’s practice. Center Jermaine O’Neal, who missed the last two games with a bad left shoulder, practiced and is expected to return Wednesday night.
“I was able to get through practice. It’s still a little bit sore, but you try to give what you can give,” O’Neal said.
Rivers would not say if Garnett’s absence would lead to rookie JaJuan Johnson getting his first career start, but he is pleased with the 23-year-old’s progress.
“He’s getting better; he’s showing why I keep saying he’ll be a player in this league,” Rivers said. “The best part is he works at it. High character kid, he really is.”
“He’s going to play, and he’s going to keep getting better,” Rivers added.
This was one of the few team practices the Celtics have been able to have in the strike-shortened season, and first since late January. Rivers said they worked on a lot of small lineup defense in the 90-minute session, something they didn’t really have a choice with due to all the injuries.