Kevin Garnett back after 19 games

Updated: April 5, 2014, 8:05 PM ET
By Mike Mazzeo | Special to ESPNNewYork.com

Kevin Garnett will return to the Brooklyn Nets' lineup and start Saturday night against the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center.

The 37-year-old center had missed the last 19 games due to back spasms.

Nets coach Jason Kidd told reporters in Philadelphia that Garnett will "give it a shot" and play limited minutes.

The Nets went 14-5 without Garnett, but are certainly glad to have him back.

Garnett leads the team in defensive rating and ranks first in the NBA in defensive rebound rate. The Nets allow just 100.6 points per 100 possessions with Garnett on the floor compared to 106 points per 100 possessions when he's on the bench. While Garnett was out, Brooklyn ranked last in the league in defensive rebound rate.

Garnett had been shooting 57 percent from the field since Jan. 1 prior to getting injured.

He has not played since hurting himself on Feb. 27 in Denver.

Garnett was set to return on March 10 against Toronto, but he suffered a setback and was scratched just before tipoff.

Rookie Mason Plumlee started all 19 games in Garnett's absence, averaging 7.4 points and 5.7 rebounds on 64.7 percent shooting.

Garnett has been averaging a season-low 21.1 minutes this season. Kidd's goal all season has been to make sure the 19-year pro is available for the playoffs.

Garnett will now have just seven games left to regain his rhythm prior to the postseason.

It will be interesting to see how the rotation changes with Garnett coming back. Plumlee will now go back to a reserve role, joining a productive bench that already includes big men Andray Blatche, Andrei Kirilenko, Mirza Teletovic and Jason Collins.

Mike Mazzeo

ESPN New York Writer

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