Garnett out indefinitely with injured right quadriceps
Vice president of basketball operations Kevin McHale said Wednesday night that the injury has bothered the former MVP for months, and that Garnett and his agent decided it was time to shut it down and seek a second opinion before going forward.
McHale said Garnett will visit doctors in the next day or two and will miss at least two of the team's five remaining games. They will wait to see what the doctors say before Garnett decides if he will return at all this season.
Garnett is averaging 22.4 points and a league-leading 12.8 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who were eliminated from postseason contention on Monday.
Garnett attended the morning shootaround on Wednesday in preparation for the night's game against Dallas, but sat down with McHale afterward and told him of the decision. He was not at Target Center for the 105-88 loss to Dallas.
"After talking with Mac and our medical staff, I realized that it's in my best interest to put my body first," Garnett said in a statement issued by the team. "I need to take this matter more seriously than I have been. I want to make sure that I correct this for the future, so that it is not an ongoing problem."
In his 12th season, Garnett is averaging 39.4 minutes, a workload that has worried McHale all season. McHale called the injury a "chronic use" issue, and thinks that the years of logging heavy minutes may be catching up with him.
"I've talked about that for three or four years," McHale said. "The minutes he logs are really ... Wow. To me, it's amazing he's able to do that and stay as healthy as he is."
In his previous three games, Garnett averaged just 14.0 points. He shot 7-of-23 in Monday night's loss to Toronto.
"It's been apparent to me in the last three games that he has struggled to score," owner Glen Taylor said. "Kevin plays through being hurt a lot. He doesn't complain much. I don't know any more than you do. I take him at his word that he'd play if he could."
Garnett's agent, Andy Miller, did not immediately return a phone message left by The Associated Press.
Garnett rarely discusses things that are bothering him, and it appears that this situation is no different.
"He's a soldier," Davis said. "If he's hurt, you would never know it unless something was broke or something. I just hope he's all right."
The situation is similar to last season. With the Wolves eliminated from postseason contention, Garnett sat out the final six games with tendinitis in his right knee.
"I don't know if it's a similar problem, right leg," McHale said. "He's had problems off and on. As a player, when you go through chronic stuff after a while ... at least if you find out exactly what it is so you can take a course of action."
If Garnett does not return this season, there will be speculation that he has played his last game for the Timberwolves. He can opt out of his contract after the 2007-08 season, and the Wolves could entertain trade offers this summer, or through the trade deadline next season, to avoid losing him without compensation.
Garnett has never indicated that he would seek a trade, but he has expressed frustration through another disappointing season in which the Wolves will miss the playoffs for the third straight year.
"Consistency, not being able to have an identity, we never established that from day one," Garnett said at the shootaround. "We always flirted with being a really good defensive team but never truly wanted to do that. Some nights we wanted to run and be an up-and-down team. We'd do that some nights but never really committed to that. You have to get some consistency in what you're doing."
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press