Kevin Garnett missed Saturday night’s game against Charlotte at TD Garden with what the Celtics called a left adductor strain. The adductor muscle is located near the thigh area. Coach Doc Rivers said Garnett’s availability for Monday’s game against the Miami Heat is unknown.
Rivers said Garnett was given the night off against the Bobcats because he wasn’t “moving well” during the team’s practice Friday in Waltham — and that Garnett wasn’t moving well Saturday, either.
“He’s just not feeling great,” said Rivers, who did not elaborate much on the injury.
When asked if it was a long-term injury, Rivers said, “I don’t think so.”
Center Chris Wilcox suffered a similar injury last season, missed the final game before the All-Star break, and returned six days later.
It was the second game of the season that Garnett has missed. He sat out Feb. 22 at Phoenix to rest. Forward Jeff Green started in his place in that game and again Saturday night. Green also started at Charlotte last week when Paul Pierce sat out to rest.
Asked about Garnett’s availability when the Heat, who have won 21 straight games, come to the Garden, Rivers said, “I don’t know, honestly. I don’t look that far [ahead]. I have no idea.”
The 36-year-old Garnett is averaging 14.8 points and 7.8 rebounds this season. Garnett played 20 minutes in the blowout win against Toronto last week, but after the game he was wearing a brace on his left wrist.
When asked if his wrist was OK, Garnett said it was.
Rivers has said that he wants to give Garnett games off to rest as the Celtics go down the stretch and prepare for the playoffs.
Pierce was a bit more definitive after the Celtics destroyed the Bobcats, 105-88, Saturday night.
“Right now, we don’t expect him to be back,’’ Pierce said. “And that’s the mind-set we’ve got to take. If he’s back, that’s just an added bonus for us to play Miami.’’
During the first 43 games of the season, Green averaged 9.5 points while shooting 42.7 percent from the field.
During that stretch, the Celtics were 20-23.
Then Rajon Rondo was declared out for the season with a knee injury.
Since that point, Green was averaging 14.5 points on 48.2 percent shooting, and the Celtics had won 15 of 21 entering Saturday night. He had 10 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists Saturday against the Bobcats.
Clearly, Green has stepped up.
“It wasn’t just me,” Green said before the game. “Just as a team, I think we all had to make a conscious effort to try to help each other out.
“I tried to be a little more aggressive and try to focus on being consistent instead of trying to replace Rondo and his numbers.”
As Green pointed out, consistency has been an issue. After scoring 31 points in that Feb. 22 blowout at Phoenix, he combined to shoot 7 for 22 in his next two games.
Pierce said he’s noticed that Green is often at his best when he’s aggressive, “when he’s looking for his shot, when he’s out in the lanes running, when he’s taking one or two dribbles and getting to the hole.”
Pierce added, “You know when he’s out there, getting into his man defensively, he’s getting into the ball, he’s getting out on the fast break — he’s ready.”
Green sat out last season after having surgery to repair an aortic aneurysm.
“He’s been back long enough,” Rivers said Friday. “We’ve moved past that now. At least I did. Maybe you didn’t. You know what I mean.’’
“I don’t think about last year at all. It’s over, it’s done. He’s still improving, it still takes time, but he doesn’t use it as a crutch and that’s great.”
Green said he’s not all the way recovered from that injury.
“I’m not completely past it, but I think I’m at a point right now where that can’t be an excuse or anything,” he said. “When I first started the season, timing, conditioning, as far as coming off the surgery, was an excuse.
“But once the season started, it comes to a point where you’ve got to push yourself even harder to get to the level you want to be at. That’s what I’ve been doing.”
Green said when he first came back from his injury, “it was tough, because you had to know your limits. I had to really study my body, had to really focus on what I needed to do.
“And now, I still get tired a little bit. I push through it, though. I’m at a point where I can do that now. It’s a mental thing.”
Green said he wasn’t sure when he’d feel as though he was completely past his surgery.
“It’ll definitely take a while,” he said. “I can’t rush the procedure I went through. That’s something that will take care of itself.
“I don’t know when that point will happen. I just think it’s something that will happen.
“It’s something that I’ve got to be patient and continue to do what I’m doing.”Baxter Holmes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @BaxterHolmes