BOSTON -- Celtics forward Kevin Garnett missed his eighth consecutive game Wednesday night against the Sacramento Kings and Boston's frontcourt was further thinned as reserve center Jermaine O'Neal did not play due to soreness that returned in his left knee.
The Celtics won, 119-95.
Head coach Doc Rivers indicated that Garnett could also be held out of Friday's visit from the Charlotte Bobcats with eyes toward getting him three extra days of rest before the Orlando Magic come to town Monday.
"My conversation with [team trainer] Eddie [Lacerte] was, 'Is he ready to go?' And he said: 'Well, if it was a playoff game then yes, but I think we should hold him out for a couple more days,'" explained Rivers. As for Friday's game, Rivers added, "it will really depend on what we do [Thursday]. My guess is no, because after that we have two days off, and my thinking right now is, unless he comes out and practices the whole practice and looks great, it's probably off Friday. Then what, do we play Monday? I can't guarantee that, but that's my thinking."
Rivers reiterated that Garnett is probably getting a little antsy to play, but the team is exercising their typical caution, while stressing to him not to be discouraged.
"He's so emotional, we just want to make sure he doesn't get down about stuff," said Rivers. "That's where I'm always concerned with him -- him starting that, 'Why is this happening to me?' stuff. You don't want him to go there; it's not a bad injury. He doesn't like missing games. I think his goal was to play all 82. The fact that that's not going to happen [makes him angry]. That's just who he is and that's a good thing in the long run."
While Rivers remains unconcerned about any sort of larger issue with Garnett, the same can't be said for O'Neal. Rivers learned that O'Neal's left knee, which has already sidelined him for 20 games this season, swelled up this morning and it was only 75 minutes before tip-off that Rivers was alerted he would be unable to play.
"I'm concerned," said Rivers. "Listen, he's gone two weeks now and a practice, and his knee swelled up. First off, it has to be extremely frustrating for him. He worked his butt off to get back and he's playing well. Secondly, we all have common sense and that's the concern: Why is this happening? We have to figure that out."
O'Neal sat out the second half of a win over the Raptors on Friday, but said it was merely precautionary in a lopsided game with a back-to-back looming the next night in Chicago. O'Neal did admit to soreness that night.
Chris Forsberg covers the Celtics for ESPNBoston.com.