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Pregame notes: Garnett stays out

BOSTON -- Celtics forward Kevin Garnett will miss his ninth consecutive game Friday night against the Charlotte Bobcats, and the Boston Celtics will also be without the services of reserve center Jermaine O'Neal.

Semih Erden, meanwhile, will be a game-time decision, according to Celtics coach Doc Rivers.

"We're hoping [he can play]," Rivers said of Erden, who aggravated a pulled groin muscle in practice on Thursday. "He went through shootaround a little bit today, didn't feel great. We'll find that out probably as he warms up. Right now I'm going into the game thinking he's going to play."

If Erden is unable to go, look for the Celtics to utilize a smaller lineup, most likely with Glen Davis and Luke Harangody playing alongside each other at center and power forward, respectively, for stretches. The Celtics also stuck Marquis Daniels at the power forward spot during practice on Thursday, and while it is not an ideal situation, the Celtics might have to play Daniels at that spot for periods of time tonight if the circumstances call for it.

O'Neal will miss his second straight game as he continues to battle left knee issues, and the center said he will seek another opinion on his undisclosed injury and make a decision as to whether or not he should undergo potentailly season-ending surgery on Tuesday.

"I think that's what he should do," Rivers said of O'Neal seeking a second opinion before making a decision about surgery.

"We've already talked about it. I think it's the right course of action. Surgery could mean never playing again, you never know that. He's trying to figure out a way, and we're trying to figure out a way, with [Dr. Brian McKeon, the Celtics' team doctor], how we can get him on the floor, even if it's got to be, in the worst-case scenario, the way it's been -- where he plays, you know, four or five games and has to sit out."

Rivers, meanwhile, maintained his stance that Garnett could return as early as Monday when the Celtics play host to the Orlando Magic.

"I'm expecting [him to play], I don't know yet," Rivers said. "If I don't think he's right, whether he wants to or not, it's still going to be no. We've got time. Listen, if he doesn't play Monday, he plays the next one. If he doesn't play the [next one], it's going to come soon. I'm not that worried about it.

"I just want him to get his time. I want him to get right. I'm just going to wait, and for me, it's the eye test."