WALTHAM — Boston’s Kevin Garnett is expected to miss at least a week with inflammation in his left ankle as the Celtics practice patience with their 36-year-old star.
Coach Doc Rivers, preparing his team for a playoff run, said yesterday he doesn’t think Garnett will be out for the long term.
“I don’t know what long term is,” Rivers said before practice. “If you mean that he’s not going to play this year, no, I don’t worry about that. But can he miss four or five games? Yeah, that’s possible.”
Garnett sat out Saturday night’s 110-106 loss at Memphis and will miss tonight’s home game against the New York Knicks, Rivers said. The Celtics’ busy stretch continues tomorrow night at Cleveland, Friday night at home against the Atlanta Hawks, Sunday night at New York and Monday at Minnesota.
Boston general manager Danny Ainge wasn’t sure how much time Garnett would miss.
“I think that it’s not longer than three weeks or it could be a week,” he said. “I’ll guess two weeks just because we want to make sure he’s really ready. We need to get him fresh anyway.”
Garnett’s absence may hurt the Celtics chances to move up from the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference standings, but Rivers wants Garnett to be as healthy as possible when he returns.
“We’re going to err on the right side,” he said. “If they give me an option of ‘you can play him every third game or give him two weeks rest,’ I can tell you right now, I’m going to say ‘two weeks rest’ ... because at the end of the day, I want him right. I don’t want him half right.”
Guard Courtney Lee, who missed the game against the Grizzlies with a sprained left ankle, might return tonight, Rivers said.