Celtics coach Doc Rivers told WEEI’s Dennis and Callahan this morning that Kevin Garnett has been ruled out of the first round and likely will be out for the playoffs with lingering soreness and pain in his right knee.
Rivers made the decision after watching Garnett limp during running exercises this morning at the team’s practice facility in Waltham.
"He’s not going to be ready," Rivers told Dennis and Callahan. "After watching him run, there’s no way. So, we’re going to move without him. And the way I saw him move today, I don’t know if he’ll be ready.
“He’s just limping. He just can’t run. This was an honest run today. You couldn’t fake your way through it. The guy’s a warrior, you could see him trying to mask it but after 20 minutes of running, there’s just no way.”
This news comes just more than 12 hours after Rivers told reporters he expected Garnett to be ready for Saturday’s playoff opener.
“I flipped completely because I was watching him move, and he looked great,” Rivers said. “And then after today, there’s just no way.”
Garnett has played just four games since injuring the right knee on Feb. 19 at Utah. He has been working with head trainer Ed Lacerte trying to get the knee ready for the rigors of the playoffs.
Asked if ruling Garnett out for the first round means the star forward is likely done for the entire playoffs, Rivers didn’t hesitate.
“I think it is,” Rivers added. “I don’t know that as a fact yet. Eddie is doing everything he can to get him on the court, and Kevin is going beyond that.
"But at this point, after going through all the rehab and looking so good last week, and he was running last week and it looked like he was running pretty well, to where he’s at today, if he can’t get through biking and working out without swelling and stiffness and his leg locking, I just don’t know how you can play in the playoffs.”
The No. 2 seed Celtics open the Eastern Conference playoffs this Saturday at 12:30 p.m. EST against the No. 7 seed Chicago Bulls at TD Banknorth Garden.