Kevin Garnett on track to play

Updated: April 26, 2013, 4:05 PM ET
By Chris Forsberg | ESPNBoston.com

WALTHAM, Mass. -- Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers said he planned to limit Kevin Garnett's activity during Thursday's practice with the goal of having him on the floor for Friday's Game 3 of an Eastern Conference first-round series against the New York Knicks.

Garnett suffered what Rivers has compared to a hip pointer during Tuesday's Game 2 loss. Besides the hip, Garnett also is battling painful bone spurs that appear to float between his foot and his ankle.

Garnett didn't address the injury specifically when talking before Thursday's session but said simply that he's "confident" he'll be healthy enough to play.

"I didn't ask [the training staff]. That's my rule, I try not to ask. Because they may give you the answer you don't want to hear," Rivers said jokingly about Garnett's status. "Right now, we're planning on him practicing. I'm not going to let him go through the entire practice, even if he's feeling good. I know a hip pointer, all you need is someone to bang into you or something. I don't even know if it's that, so we're going to be careful."

Garnett sat out 10 of Boston's final 13 regular-season games, including eight straight because of left ankle inflammation. He also missed two games before that because of a left adductor strain.

Asked whether he felt physically ready for Friday's Game 3, Garnett offered, "We're a confident group." He then repeated that answer when pressed on his health.

Rivers said he doesn't remember exactly when the hip injury occurred during the second half of Tuesday's loss, but he was initially concerned it was a stomach issue.

"I asked him two or three times if he could keep going, because at the time, I didn't know what it was. I thought it was the stomach and when you see someone grabbing there you immediately think stomach muscle, which is the worst," Rivers said. "That's why in our era, we didn't do sit-ups, so we could never hurt that muscle, but that was my fear, and that's a bad injury. And it wasn't that. So after [team trainer] Eddie [Lacerte] told me it wasn't that, I was good."

Garnett was limited by foul trouble in both Games 1 and 2. With the Celtics down 2-0 to the Knicks, he knows how important Friday's game is.

"When you're down 0-2 to a good team that's playing really well, that has a rhythm, desperation is definitely in play," Garnett said. "We can't afford to think otherwise. This is it. We cannot go down 0-3 to any team, I feel like in the postseason. It'd be a very difficult situation to put yourself in."

Garnett does expect to get a lift from being back at TD Garden, playing at home for the first time in 16 days and the first time since the Boston Marathon bombings.

"I'm looking forward to tomorrow -- being home, back in Beantown. Very much so," he said. "We haven't been home since all the current events and everything ... so, yes, we're anticipating it being very emotional, very inspiring, and we're looking forward to coming out and trying to get this Game 3."

ESPNBoston.com's Jackie MacMullan contributed to this report.

Chris Forsberg

Celtics reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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