Celtics forward Kevin Garnett, battling an injured knee, likely will not play again until three games remain in the regular season, coach Doc Rivers said today.
"After watching him move today, we're just going to shut him down," Rivers said at practice this afternoon. "It probably won't be for the year. He'll probably play by the end, last couple of games, or last three games. It's just not progressing the way we anticipated it would progress."
The Celtics, 56-19 and percentage points behind Orlando for the second seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, could be without Garnett, their All-Star forward and emotional leader, until an April 12 visit to Cleveland.
Garnett, the NBA Defensive Player of the Year a season ago, has missed 14 games with a strained right knee, an injury he suffered Feb. 19 at Utah. He returned for a four-game stretch beginning March 20 against San Antonio, but never played more than 18 minutes and has not seen game action since an 84-82 loss to Orlando March 25.
"Instead of going back and forth and trying to get him to run in practice, seeing that he gets sore, it's just not worth it," Rivers said. "We're just going to shut him down until we feel that he's ready."
The Lawrence Eagle-Tribune reported that surgery had been considered, but Garnett decided against it, believing he might not recover in time for the postseason.
Glen Davis will continue to start in his absence. The Celtics' next game is tomorrow at home against the Charlotte Bobcats.
Chad Finn of the Globe staff contributed to this report.