The Boston Celtics will give heavy consideration to resting Paul Pierce (sore right ankle) on Monday night in Minnesota and, combined with the absence of Kevin Garnett (left ankle inflammation), the team could be without its top available stars as part of strategic rest to be as healthy as possible when the postseason begins.
The issue of regular-season rest remains a hot-button topic in the league, dusting up again on Sunday when the Miami Heat rested LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Mario Chalmers from a visit to the Spurs.
Pierce and Garnett are battling legitimate ankle injuries and the Celtics don't have to worry about repercussions from the league, but coach Doc Rivers acknowledged the topic will likely receive plenty of debate this summer.
"It probably will come up; I got a feeling it will come up, probably loudly," quipped Rivers. "But I don’t know what you’re supposed to do as a coach, honestly. It’s a tough one, from a fan’s standpoint, they pay to see the players play. And I get that. From the league standpoint, they want to protect that. And from a coaching standpoint, you want to do what’s best for your team. So it’s just a tough one. It really is.
"I don’t know how you address it, honestly. Back in the old days -- remember the [injury] list? Where you had to create the injury list and some of the injuries there [were exaggerated], that’s what it will go back to, I have a feeling, if something was forced. I don’t know what to do?"
A reporter asked if Boston gets the benefit of the doubt sometime given that they've had a veteran team in recent seasons.
"Old is an actual injury," said Rivers. "You have the hamstring injury and the “old” injury. Yeah, I think maybe you’re right, we’ve [rested veteran players late in the year] for however long [Garnett and Pierce have] been with us. It’s still a tough one, it’s a tough place for the league."