Garnett practices for first time since injury

Posted Jan. 13, 2011, at 7:48 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 13, 2011, at 8:39 p.m.

WALTHAM, Mass. — Kevin Garnett took part in full contact practice with the Boston Celtics on Thursday, his first team workout since straining his right calf on Dec. 29.

Doc Rivers said Garnett participated in a little more than half the practice, going through plays and running up and down the court, but the coach ruled his star forward out for Friday’s home game against Charlotte.

“He went through half the practice or more than that, actually,” Rivers said. “He looked pretty good. He’s not playing (Friday) but he looked pretty good. Besides just his wind, I thought his movement was very good. I want to see him another practice but he’s getting close.”

Rivers said trainer Ed Lacerte and team doctor Brian McKeon checked out Garnett and cleared him to participate in all the contact drills and plays in practice.

“There were a couple of times I wanted him off the floor and he stayed on the floor and did all the pick-and-roll defense live,” said Rivers. “We went up and down and he did all that live.”

Boston is 5-3 without Garnett in the lineup.

The Celtics received more discouraging news as two more frontcourt players are dealing with injuries that could keep them sidelined indefinitely. Jermaine O’Neal had an MRI Thursday on his sore left knee that acted up in the second half of Monday’s game against Houston, and backup center Semih Erden missed practice because of a groin pull.

Rivers is concerned that O’Neal will likely need surgery.

“Don’t know yet,” Rivers said. “Honestly, my guess is they’re going to have to do something. So, I don’t know that. I’m just using my doctorate right now. My guess is they’ll probably have to do something.”

Boston’s depth in the frontcourt was already slim with Kendrick Perkins (right knee) not yet cleared to practice and Shaquille O’Neal getting limited minutes to maintain his stamina for later in the season.

“It puts more pressure on them,” Rivers said of his healthy big men. “This is who we are right now. It’s part of it.”

Beasley sidelined

MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota Timberwolves forward Michael Beasley has been scratched for the game against Washington on Thursday night with a sprained left ankle.

Beasley is the second-leading scorer on the Timberwolves with 20.9 points per game. He’s been bothered by the injury for the last several games and aggravated it when he landed on Tim Duncan’s foot in a loss to the Spurs on Tuesday night.

Beasley said during practice on Wednesday that his ankle was starting to feel better. But coach Kurt Rambis says the team is concerned after seeing Beasley’s ankle roll twice in the last two games.

Rookie Wes Johnson was put in the starting lineup for Beasley. Johnson was a full-time starter at shooting guard until recently when Rambis benched him for Corey Brewer in an effort to improve the team’s defense.

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