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Celtics

Message To Garnett: Take The Rest!

By Matthew Geagan, CBSBoston
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Kevin Garnett (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Kevin Garnett (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

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BOSTON (CBS) – The Boston Celtics revealed on Monday that Kevin Garnett will likely miss the next two weeks as he recovers from a foot injury. This injury is in addition to the adductor strain and flu-like symptoms that slowed KG over the last week, and the general old-man-ness that has been hankering the future Hall of Famer this season.

My message to Garnett: please take it. Take the rest of the regular season for that matter. In fact, don’t even walk for the next week — just have rookie Fab Melo and Shavlik Randolph carry you around in one of those seats reserved for Sultans and Emperors and let that foot heal for the playoffs (though come to think of it though, Melo might not be the best candidate for that job).

It doesn’t matter what Kevin Garnett would bring to the floor over the next four weeks. What matters is what he can bring to the floor after that.

A two-week vacation is the perfect getaway for the aging Garnett as his Celtics make their way  – or more recently, stumble – towards the playoffs. Head coach Doc Rivers was going to give Garnett games off down the stretch anyways to rest for the postseason, so this is just extending that rest period a bit for the 36-year-old.

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That’s never a bad thing, especially given Garnett’s recent slump. He’s seen his numbers dip for the month of March, averaging just 13.7 points per game off 44-percent shooting (down from his season averages of 14.9 points and 50-percent shooting). Rivers was weighing “rhythm against rest” when it came to Garnett, but now it’s clear that rest has won out.

The Celtics have already had to deal with the season-long loss of Rajon Rondo and Jared Sullinger – and Leandro Barbosa to a lesser extent — so going two weeks without Garnett should be nothing for them. With 13 games left in the regular season, and seven of them against non-playoff teams, the Celtics should be able to get the wins they need to lock up a playoff spot, and at least hold on to the seventh seed in the East. Garnett’s absence will also let Jeff Green to continue to get starter’s minutes.

But as good as the rest sounds it’s coming for a reason, and therein lies the problem. Whereas getting a few nights off at the end of the regular season is just getting a few nights off at the end of the regular season, this is an actual two-week rest period because of an ailment. And when it comes to Garnett, who has 15 seasons worth wear and tear on his legs, you don’t have to look too far back to know any kind of time off is usually the aftermath of something people don’t want to hear about.

What Monday’s news brings us to is Garnett is actually injured, which could, obviously, be a very big problem for the Boston Celtics going forward. It brings back scary memories of the 2009 playoffs that were riddled with “will he return” questions surrounding Garnett and his injured knee — and ultimately ended with the Celtics falling to the Magic in seven games in the Eastern Conference Semis.

This injury doesn’t appear to be anything too serious, but it’s pretty obvious that at this point in the season, any nick, bruise, cut, tweak, sprain or hiccup should get Garnett some time off — and any amount of time that he needs. Not the amount he wants (because picture a five-year-old being told they can’t get a toy – that’s Kevin Garnett being told he can’t play basketball), but the time he needs.

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Who cares what Garnett does against the Cleveland Cavaliers at the end of the March? In that same breath, who cares what Garnett does against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the beginning of April? The only team he should be concerned about right now are the New York Knicks – and not the version that comes to the Garden Tuesday night. Garnett should be focused, first, on getting his foot healed, and second on the Knicks that the Celtics will likely face come April 20.

Take your two weeks, and then take another KG. If you want to come back and get a game under your belt before the playoffs, that is understandable, but stay away from the floor as much as you can for the next 14+ days. Don’t feel the need to pull down any rebounds or emphatically block any shots in practice. Just sit in a corner, put your foot up, and bark out plays and those choice words you’re so fond of for the next couple weeks and enjoy the rest.

You’ll be back on the floor before you know it (hopefully). But please, take the two week vacation and get healthy.

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