(AFP) – Feb 17, 2008
NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (AFP) — Injured Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett will return to practice Monday and plans to play for the National Basketball Association leaders on Tuesday at Denver.
Speaking before the start of Sunday's 57th NBA All-Star Game, Garnett said he has struggled to be patient while missing nine games with an abdominal strain and is excited to be getting back onto the court for the Celtics.
"It has been frustrating but I have been patient. I feel like I have handled it pretty good," Garnett said. "Doc has done a good job of keeping me patient. I listen to my body. These are your abs. They control everything you go to do."
Garnett has been a major reason why the Celtics have the NBA's best record at 41-9 with averages of 19.2 points and 9.9 rebounds a game.
Garnett, who was traded from Minnesota to Boston before the season, received more votes from fans than any other starter elected to either the East or West All-Star squads but must watch from the bench.
"I have a good outlook on not playing," Garnett said. "It's a bittersweet thing."
Celtics coach Doc Rivers liked what he saw from Garnett in a brief All-Star weekend workout but wants to see him work Monday before pronouncing him fit for Tuesday.
"He looked pretty good. He moved well," Rivers said. "We're just going to wait and see Tuesday and get his legs under him. He will most likely not practice the whole practice."
Garnett plans on making the most of his chance to get back into uniform.
"These past four days have been my best four days. I'm back to my old self again. I can do things now that I couldn't do for a couple weeks," Garnett said.
"Monday is a big day for me and I'm looking forward to it. I'm just happy to be back. It's Doc's call. They will assess me at practice."
The 31-year-old playmaker suffered his injury January 25 in a game against his former Minnesota teammates.
Together with guard Ray Allen and forward Paul Pierce, who both will play in the All-Star spectacle, Garnett has formed a "Big Three" unit that has powered the revival of a Boston team long absent from the list of NBA title contenders.
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