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Celtics Dodge Bullet; Garnett Gone for Just Two Weeks

Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said Thursday afternoon that an MRI confirmed that Kevin Garnett‘s injury is a strained right calf muscle, as the team had thought, and not to his surgically repaired knee.

Ainge, speaking on Boston sports radio station WEEI, estimated Garnett would miss, at the most, two weeks with the injury.

“It’s actually the muscle just off the side of the leg below the knee,” Ainge explained. “It’s not anything to do with his knee, which is great news. He may be out for a couple of weeks, at the most. … I think that’s on the conservative side.”

Garnett injured the muscle in the first quarter of Wednesday night’s Celtics loss to the Detroit Pistons, leaving the game. He immediately underwent X-rays, which came back negative.

Ainge said that when he saw Garnett hobble off the floor Wednesday night it reminded him of the game in Utah in February 2009, in which Garnett aggravated a knee injury that eventually needed surgery. But Ainge explained that this leg injury is much less serious because there was no preexisting ailment in the area.

“That was a specific injury that he had [in 2009],” Ainge said. “KG had been playing with a sore leg for weeks before that Utah injury, that wasn’t something that just happened. He had that bone spur on there for much longer before that Utah game.”

With Garnett out a couple of weeks, Rajon Rondo still sidelined with a sprained ankle and Delonte West out with a broken wrist, the Celtics will have to lean on Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Glen Davis and others until they return.

“My biggest fear is wearing Paul and Ray out right now,” Ainge said. “That’s the temptation that [coach] Doc [Rivers] is going to have to deal with because of all these injuries. … I think it would be hard to maintain the same pace we’re playing at right now without Rajon and without KG. But this is an opportunity for other guys to step up and see what they can do.

“Doc is also going to have to be creative, and find different ways than how we’re accustomed to playing, like he did the other night using Marquis [Daniels] at [point guard], which was very effective. Doc has a very creative mind.”

Speaking Thursday morning on WEEI, Rivers said Davis would probably start in Garnett’s place.

“It’ll be a short rotation clearly. We don’t have a lot of bigs left,” Rivers said. “Right now we’d probably start Baby with Shaq and then you have [Jermaine O’Neal] come off the bench. From there you may use Luke [Harangody]. You may go with a smaller lineup with Marquis.”

Like his players, Rivers thought the worst when Garnett’s injury first occurred.

“The way he did it, I thought the knee or Achilles,” Rivers said after the game Wednesday. “You’ve heard me say it before, an injury when no one is around, that’s usually a severe one.”


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