Garnett, Kirilenko inch closer to returning

NEW YORK -- The Brooklyn Nets announced Sunday that center Kevin Garnett is targeting one of the three games from April 5-9 to make his return to the lineup.

Kevin Garnett

Kevin Garnett

#2 C
Brooklyn Nets

2014 STATS

  • GM49
  • PPG6.7

  • RPG6.7

  • APG1.5

  • FG%.439

  • FT%.857

Forward Andrei Kirilenko, meanwhile, is targeting a return in the middle of this week. The Nets face the Houston Rockets on Tuesday and the New York Knicks on Wednesday.

The timetables are subject to change, according to the team, adding that both players are “making progress.”

Counting Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Garnett has missed 16 straight games due to back spasms, while Kirilenko has missed the past four games due to a sprained left ankle.

The timetable as shown means that Garnett will miss at least three more games.

Andrei Kirilenko

Andrei Kirilenko

#47 SF
Brooklyn Nets

2014 STATS

  • GM37
  • PPG5.2

  • RPG3.2

  • APG1.4

  • FG%.535

  • FT%.500

The Nets face the Detroit Pistons at home on Friday night before taking on the Sixers in Philadelphia on April 5. They then travel to Florida to face the Miami Heat and Orlando Magic on April 8 and April 9.

Garnett hurt his back on Feb. 27 in Denver. He hoped to return on March 10 against the Toronto Raptors, but suffered a setback and was scratched from the lineup just minutes before tipoff.

Kirilenko missed 25 straight games earlier in the season due to back spasms. During that stretch, he had three setbacks and received two cortisone shots.

Injuries have limited Kirilenko to just 37 games played this season.

The Nets have managed to go 11-4 in Garnett’s absence, in large part because rookie Mason Plumlee has filled in admirably in his place.

Garnett got off to a terrible start this season, but started to become acclimated with his new role in 2014. Since Jan. 1, he has shot 57 percent from the field while serving as the team’s defensive anchor and rim protector. Overall, Garnett leads the team in on-court defensive rating (100.6 points allowed per 100 possessions).