Once bitten, twice shy. The Celtics flat out lied to us last year about the extent of Kevin Garnett's knee. I understand why they did it. I do think the team hoped to have him back at some point and believed they would. But at some point along the way they let us believe that he was coming back when they knew he wasn't. Right or wrong, that makes you wonder.
Now all indications are that Garnett was just pulled from last night's game for "strategic rest." All indications are that the issue is a thigh bruise and not directly related to his knee. Everything sounds on the up and up. I'm 99.9% sure that is all there is to the story.
However, there's that thin cloud of doubt that creeps in and will always creep in from now on. And the Celtics know it. There's a reason why Danny Ainge addressed the CSN crew last night instead of just Doc. They know they need to be very careful in how they handle situations like this from now on because they know we didn't appreciate them going "Belichickian" on us last year. (If you are going to do that, at least do it consistently. Not just when it is convenient to you.)
For his part, Garnett seems to be dealing with being injured a little better too.
"He wasn't thrilled with it, but I think he's better this year than he was last year," said Rivers. "[Monday], he actually sat down in practice and [Celtics captain] Paul [Pierce] walked over to him and said, 'Wow, someone's growing up.' You know, instead of fighting it.
"He has such a warrior mentality, sometimes it's to his detriment. [Monday], he did a good job. You know he wanted to fight it [Tuesday], and then he just kind of said, 'You're right.'"
I'm not trying to stir the pot here. I'm not a big fan of conspiracies. I think KG will be back playing on Christmas day. I'm just trying to point out that there's always going to be a shadow of doubt around injuries to Kevin Garnett because of what happened last year.
Update: As it turns out, the team is still prone to using deception. Via the Globe:
The news came as a surprise to teammates, who didn't know they would be taking the court without their defensive leader until about 20 minutes before tip-off.
"I didn't want them thinking,'' Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "I just wanted them to go out and play.''
The curveball seemed to effect the performance on the floor as the team was out of sync the whole first half. Not a huge problem I'm sure, but a strategy that I don't agree with.
I say be open and honest about injuries. Trade rumors, on the other hand, you should keep under wraps for as long as possible (despite my best efforts to root them out).