WALTHAM — Celtics coach Doc Rivers today said Kevin Garnett has no medical restrictions and has been cleared to practice with the team when they open training camp tomorrow in Newport, R.I.
“I think with Kevin and Perk and Tony [Allen] and all of them, we’ll just get to camp and see how they go,” said Rivers. “Right now there are no medical restrictions on any player, and that’s good.”
Rivers said the team would practice just once a day (they did some two-a-days last year), and that Garnett would take place in most drills. The coach did say he would try to convince Garnett to sit some drills out.
“That’s going to be a pain in the butt,” Rivers said of holding Garnett out. “Kevin likes to do it all and go 1,000 miles an hour. And that’s a good quality. We want everybody in all our jobs to do that. And for me, it will all be in what I see. If I think he’s handling it well, then it’s not a big deal. If I don’t think he’s handling it well, then I’m going to ask him to slow down some.”
Garnett injured his right knee during a game against the Jazz in February. The power forward attempted a comeback during the regular season, but he shut it down before the end of the season and missed all of the playoffs with the injury. Garnett said he underwent several “procedures”, as he called them, this offseason.
“I think everything was pretty much straightforward with the procedures,” said Garnett. “They took me through what was going to occur, post and prior to, and everything’s been just like that. Everything’s been right on schedule.”
Garnett was cleared to play 5-on-5 basketball last week. But while his rehab has been as expected, the extent of the injury was not.
“No surprises, other than the severity of the injury,” said Garnett. “I didn’t know it was that bad.”
Garnett was asked to clarify.
“It was just what we thought it was, but it was more than that,” said Garnett. “Put it like this: a bone spur the size of this tape recorder ended up being the size of this microphone…It’s pretty severe, but the best thing about it is I got it out of the way. I’m almost 100 percent going forward. The best thing about it is I’m playing without any pain, which is something I haven’t had in quite some time.”
The first 5-on-5 game was a bit of a struggle, Garnett said.
“Everything was fast,” he said. “[Rajon] Rondo and Lester [Hudson] were faster than ever…It was like being a little kid again, going out there and playing, huffing and puffing. It was good.”
Celtics captain Paul Pierce said he had no idea Garnett would be joining in on the team’s pickup game last week.
“I think he looked like what you expected,” said Pierce. “It’s all about him knocking off the rust and not being out there for so long. In my opinion he was real good getting up and down the court.”