Kevin Garnett will make his return to the lineup against the Orlando Magic Monday night and he will not have a minutes restriction in his first game since injuring his right calf against the Pistons on Dec. 29. "He's pretty much free to play," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said before the game.

 

While the Celtics got Kevin Garnett back at practice, they were without Shaquille O'Neal who slipped on some ice and has a strained adductor muscle in his right leg, according to the team. Marquis Daniels also missed most of practice after his back tightened up following a hard pick from Kendrick Perkins. "Perk welcomed me back," Daniels said. "I'm OK."

 

Kevin Garnett went through the whole practice Sunday and appears poised to make his return to the court Monday against the Magic. Celtics coach Doc Rivers pushed the team hard in order for Garnett to test his strained right calf muscle. While he went through the practice without a practice without a problem, the team will wait to see how he feels Monday before making a decision.

 

With all the injuries the Celtics are having, it’s something of a minor miracle that Shaquille O’Neal has appeared in 30 of their 39 games. They never know from day to day if Shaq will be able to play.



PAUL FLANNERY

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Shaquille O'Neal played a season-high 35 minutes, scoring 23 points on 10-of-12 shooting, leading the Celtics to a 99-94 win over Charlotte Friday night at TD Garden. After the game, O'Neal said he wasn't motivated by Rivers pre-game jab that the 38-year-old center is day-to-day because "he's old as hell."

 

Rajon Rondo fell just four rebounds shy of another triple-double while Shaquille O'Neal scored a game-high 23 points as the Celtics held off the Charlotte Bobcats, 99-94, Friday night at TD Garden. The Celtics were very effective from long distance, draining 8-of-19 from beyond the arc. 

 

Jermaine O'Neal has already met with the Celtics medical staff and he will meet with another doctor Monday to have a second opinion on whether he should have surgery on his knee. O'Neal said he will make an announcement on Tuesday. If he does have surgery it would likely keep him out until the end of the regular season. That, in turn, would make it very difficult for him to return for the playoffs.

 

The Celtics officially assigned rookie guard Avery Bradley to their D-League affiliate in Maine on Friday. The move allows Bradley to get some minutes in games and practice. With Rajon Rondo back from injury, Bradley has played only twice in the last eight games, compiling a total of four minutes played. The move does not open a roster spot for the Celtics. Players assigned to the D-League still count on the roster and the Celtics have the maximum 15 players under contract.

 

WALTHAM -- The Celtics received more discouraging news on the injury front as two more front-court 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. 

 

WALTHAM --  In a sign that he is close to returning to game action, Kevin Garnett took part in contact practice with the Celtics on Thursday for the first time since straining his right calf against Detroit on Dec. 29. Coach Doc Rivers said that Garnett participated in a little more than half the practice, going through plays and running up and down the court but ruled him out of Friday's home game against Charlotte.