KG Rusty in Return


KG Rusty in Return

DENVER - Kevin Garnett technically returned to the Celtics lineup last night, but no one watching believed it was the real KG.

Not after 25 days on the shelf.

``It feels like I've been out for a couple of years,'' said Garnett, who was 2-for-7 from the floor and turned the ball over four times on the way to four points and eight rebounds in 21 minutes. ``Yeah, I'm rusty as hell.''

Asked to assess Garnett's performance, coach Doc Rivers said, ``Not very good, but you've got to expect that when he sits out that long. He was rusty. We knew that was coming.''

Garnett missed nine games with an abdominal strain. Rivers said he will decide today whether Garnett can go against the Warriors tonight, but KG said he ``absolutely'' will play. ``Absolutely,'' he added for emphasis.

``I felt good . . . no pain actually, no discomfort,'' Garnett said. ``I'm trying to get my legs under me a little bit. There's nothing that can simulate the game, the speed and how much you've got to anticipate different things. But for the most part, it was OK. It was good for me.''

Added Rivers: ``I thought he moved pretty well, but you could see he was out of sync offensively. It's going to take time.''

Garnett didn't score until the second half, and the rust was evident when he got stripped twice by Nuggets players on simple moves to the hoop.

Doc feels better

Doing the right thing turned out to be a little painful for Rivers. He participated in the NBA's day of service in New Orleans last Friday and came away with an illness that kept him from running Monday night's practice.

After seeing doctors, he reported feeling better yesterday, but he noted his situation is not related to the flu that's gone through the team.

``We don't know for sure, but they think I caught something out at the Habitat,'' said Rivers, who coached the Eastern Conference in the All-Star Game. ``A bug bit me or something. It was some kind of infection. They say a lot of the Habitat workers in New Orleans get it.''

By the ankles

When practice ended Monday, Scot Pollard began bellowing for the Celtics to get on their bus, tossing in for laughs the fact there was a gentlemen's club nearby.

``Yeah,'' said Paul Pierce, ``he must be healthy.''

Indeed, Pollard has had plenty of time to rest the left ankle he sprained just before training camp. He hadn't played since Jan. 9 against Charlotte, but rest alone didn't get him ready to play. New ankle braces did the trick.

``They told me they're not very common in basketball, because they're cumbersome and we change directions a lot,'' said Pollard, who sat out again last night. ``A lot of football linemen wear them, guys in the trenches. They work. They definitely work. Instead of slipping around on ice, I've got ice skates on.''

The braces won't be visible, however. ``I'm going to try to cover them up as best I can,'' Pollard said, ``not because I'm insecure about them, it's just because they're (expletive) ugly.''

And he'll wear two, because, he said, ``I'm an even guy, because if I do something on (just) one side it'll throw off something else like my back. So I want it both sides. And also my right ankle's not the greatest either. It's not very solid. They've checked it, too. I might as well just be safe than sorry.''

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