If the Boston Celtics are going to be the team to interrupt the Miami Heat's current 22-game winning streak, they will have to do so without star forward/center Kevin Garnett.
Garnett will miss Monday night's game against the Heat, according to Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe, but not because of the adductor injury that kept him out (via Mike Petraglia of WEEI 93.7 FM) on Saturday night against the Charlotte Bobcats.
Here's Washburn's tweet that reported Garnett's flu-like symptoms:
Doc says the flu was main reason for KG's absence, not adductor injury #Celtics— gary washburn (@GwashNBAGlobe) March 18, 2013
UPDATE: Wednesday, March 20 at 12:15 p.m. ET by Matt Fitzgerald
Garnett couldn't quite make it back in time for the Heat game, but he will return to the court on Wednesday evening when the Celtics take on the New Orleans Hornets. A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com broke the news:
This should be a bounce-back game for Boston despite the fact that it's on the road, and KG's return should help the cause in stifling the Hornets' already suspect offense.
---End of update---
Tim Reynolds, who covers the Heat as a beat writer, took a slight jab at KG and the Celtics' chances when confirming that the Boston star would not be playing on Monday night:
So, it turns out, anything is not always possible. KG out tonight for Celtics.— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) March 18, 2013
Garnett, who is averaging 14.8 points and 7.8 rebounds per game during his 18th NBA season, is a pivotal piece of what Boston has been able to do since losing Rajon Rondo to injury at the end of January.
Boston (36-29) currently sits in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, but is within striking distance of almost every seed except No. 1—where the Miami Heat currently reign supreme in the midst of one of the greatest winning streaks in league history.
The C's were particularly looking forward to this matchup as a result of the rivalry that has ignited with Miami ever since LeBron James and Chris Bosh infamously went to South Beach in the summer of 2010. They even made headlines earlier this week (via Chris Forsberg of ESPN Boston) by saying that they "weren't impressed" with Miami's streak heading into Monday night's home game at TD Garden.
Can Boston beat Miami without KG?
That may be the case, but Miami would be hard to stop with a healthy Garnett roaming the floor, much less one that is watching from the sidelines.
Boston doesn't appear to be in danger of missing the playoffs after putting some distance between itself and the rest of the bottom of the East, but tonight's game against Miami is in serious jeopardy with Paul Pierce and Jason Terry now expected to carry a heavier burden on both ends.
Then again, Boston thrives on adversity, and losing its leader and defensive captain qualifies as just that.
We know that Garnett—one of the fiercest competitors to ever play the game—wouldn't miss this kind of showdown without good reason, so it's clear that his body just isn't up to the task of a physically and emotionally draining game against the NBA's best team.