Pivot Points: Kevin Garnett's Knee Woes a Familiar Refrain for Celtics

Hadarii JonesSenior Writer IJanuary 12, 2010

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 28:  Kevin Garnett #5 of the Boston Celtics looks on against the Golden State Warriors during an NBA game at Oracle Arena on December 28, 2009 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

If you fans of the Boston Celtics are not concerned by Kevin Garnett and his hyperextended right knee, let me be the first to congratulate you on your poker face—because this is the last thing you want to hear.

I'm sure memories of Garnett and his championship-derailing injury last year are still fresh in your mind, and this latest situation has started out shrouded in as much mystery as the one from 2009.

The statement from head coach Doc Rivers takes Garnett out of action for a period of 10 games, but who's to say that carries any validity under the weight of the sequence of events that transpired last year?

Last year, Garnett suffered what was first thought to be a minor knee injury that would cause him to miss a few weeks. However, it morphed into something that required surgery and eventually ended his season.

It was as if we witnessed the Celtics' brass coming to terms with this as Rivers and Danny Ainge took turns giving ambiguous statements about the status of Garnett—without really revealing anything in the process.

That not's totally true, as we did learn through their somber assessments that it was highly unlikely Garnett would ever see any action for the rest of 2009.

His absence was the biggest reason why Boston was unable to defend their championship of 2008. Now in 2009, this season's injuries have already begun to leave a rude footprint on the team.

Glen Davis has missed time, as have Paul Pierce, Rasheed Wallace, and now Garnett. The injury to Garnett is the most significant of all, because Boston's championship aspirations rest on the broad shoulders of Garnett alone.

I'm sure some Boston fans will disagree, but losing Garnett is akin to the Lakers losing Kobe Bryant; they are two players who provide skills and intangibles that are impossible to replace.

The Celtics' talent doesn't end with Garnett, but the proof is in the pudding. Last season the Celtics gave a valiant effort, but were eventually eclipsed by the Orlando Magic in the second round.

His presence in the series had the potential to affect the outcome, as his ability to guard the paint and drift to the perimeter would have been a balance to the unorthodox methods of Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu.

The length of Lewis and Turkoglu caused problems for the Celtics on the perimeter, and the absence of Garnett meant one less body to contest powerful Magic center Dwight Howard.

The addition of Wallace helps this issue, but alas, Wallace is also injured and his impact doesn't begin to measure up to what Garnett brings to the game.

Boston is a wonderful team filled with a variety of diverse talent, but without Garnett they are a team devoid of their soul, passion, and the ability to change the course of a contest by their very presence.

I'm hopeful that this injury is nothing like the one that sidelined Garnett last year, because my hopes of a Lakers-Celtics rematch hinge on the health of Boston and the ability of Los Angeles to avoid crucial mistakes.

Sadly, the winds of time have begun to erode the skills of the Celtics. Ray Allen has visibly lost a step and Garnett, in truth, has not seemed like the same player he was prior to his injury.

Maybe some faith can be held in the words and actions of Rivers, who doesn't seem to be the same dazed character he was last year in the face of the implosion of the Celtics' season.

Maybe some hope can be gleaned in the self-assured and nonchalant manner in which he announced Garnett would only miss 10 games in the wake of this newest injury.

I only pray we are not witnessing Rivers once again personified as the beginning of the end, because although I hold out belief, the sequence of events is eerily similar to the chorus of a song I have heard before.