Earlier this week, Jason Kidd said that Kevin Garnett, in the midst of fighting back spasms, would sit out the team’s three home games this week before being re-evaluated today.
But before the re-evaluation even happened, Kidd confirmed Friday night that the 37-year-old Garnett wouldn’t make the team’s road trip, confirming the team’s starting center would miss the next three games.
“He won’t go on the trip,” Kidd said after the team’s 114-98 victory over the Boston Celtics. “He’ll stay home, and we’ll see how he feels when he gets back.”
It was not immediately clear if the team decided to re-evaluate Garnett anyway today.
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By the time the team ends their road trip, Garnett will have missed a month of playing time, having last taken the court on February 27th. He was slated to play March 10th against the Toronto Raptors, and was even written into the starting lineup, but suffered a setback in team warmups and was a late scratch.
This is the first time in Garnett’s 18-year career that he’s missed any time with a back injury, and due to the back’s tricky nature, there’s no definitive timetable for his return.
Despite his injury, the Nets haven’t slowed down, remaining red-hot in the calendar year 2014: they’ve gone 9-2 since Garnett went down and haven’t lost at home since January 31st. Kidd — and the team — credit Garnett’s replacement, rookie Mason Plumlee, for the team’s continued success.
“He’s growing each time he takes the floor,” Kidd said of Plumlee Friday night. “Being a rookie, he’s going to make some mistakes but the way he finishes around the rim with the way guys are passing the ball, it’s fun to watch.”
Plumlee has averaged 8.3 points and 5.6 rebounds in 20.3 minutes per game since Garnett went down, shooting 68.5 percent from the field, and the team’s allowed just 97.7 points per 100 possessions with Plumlee on the floor in that time. But his chase-the-rim, athletic style’s a bit different from the primarily jump-shooting Garnett: he hasn’t hit a shot outside of the paint all season.
The Nets have had one player deal with back spasms this season: forward Andrei Kirilenko missed nearly two months fighting spasms of his own.