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Garnett, Perkins “Injured;” Necessary Precaution or Act of Gamesmanship?

Is Kevin Garnett really injured? Or is Doc Rivers playing mind games with Cleveland? (Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)

It appears LeBron James isn’t the only player benefiting from the three day break between Games 2 and 3. Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers held an injured Kevin Garnett (right mid-foot strain), and Kendrick Perkins (hyper-extended right knee) out of practice on Wednesday. KG and Perkins sustained their injuries during Monday night’s Game 2 , but both players should be ready to play in Game 3 on Friday.

The three day break will give Cavaliers superstar LeBron James a little extra time to nurse his injured right elbow, but it will also allow the Celtics to avoid playing Game 3 without Kevin Garnett.

“Honestly today, if we had a game, I don’t think he [Garnett] could have played,” Rivers said.

Garnett has had a phenomenal series against Cleveland thus far. In Games 1 and 2 combined he accounted for 36 points and 20 rebounds, while manhandling Antawn Jamison, who’s no slouch himself. With the exception of Rajon Rondo, no Celtic is playing better than KG right now.

Is Doc Rivers Practicing Gamesmanship?

Much has been made of LeBron’s elbow injury, and he hasn’t tried to keep the injury a secret. In fact, he’s done just the opposite. In Game 5 of the Bulls series he winced and grabbed the elbow on multiple occasions, and even shot a free-throw left handed. He also said that he would have to adjust his game accordingly going into the series versus Boston. Some have argued that LeBron is actually injured, others have argued he’s merely practicing gamesmanship by attempting to lure the Celtics into a false sense of security.

In the wake of the “injuries” sustained by Garnett and Perkins, would it be fair to say Doc might be taking a page from LeBron’s book?

For those of you unfamiliar with the term “gamesmanship,” here is a definition:

games·man·ship (n.) The use in a sport or game of aggressive, often dubious tactics, such as psychological intimidation or disruption of concentration, to gain an advantage over one’s opponent.

Boston sports radio personality Mike Felger of 98.5 “The Sports Hub,” suggested on Wednesday that KG’s and Perk’s injuries could be fake, and are merely a response to what he called LeBron’s “phantom elbow injury.”

So, are KG and Perk injured, or is Doc trying to send a message to the Cavs? It’s an interesting question, and one that only Doc and his team know the real answer to. One thing is certain; it adds even more drama to what should be an extremely competitive and emotion-filled Game 3.

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