Kevin Garnett left Boston's 104-92 loss at Detroit Wednesday night with a right leg injury.
Garnett grimaced as he threw down a dunk late in the first quarter, then immediately started limping when he landed, favoring his right leg. He made it back to midcourt before intentionally committing a foul to stop the game.
He was able to hobble off the court but was limping badly by the time he got back to the locker room. He was taken for X-rays and did not return to the game.
The X-rays were negative for fractures. Garnett will undergo an MRI exam Thursday in Boston, the results of which coach Doc Rivers said Thursday morning he expected by late afternoon.
Rivers told reporters after Wednesday's game that he's "not that concerned" about Garnett's lower leg injury, describing it as a muscle ailment that will sideline him, but maybe not for as long as might have been expected at first glance.
"I don't think it's bad," Rivers said. "I'm not that concerned. He's going to miss games probably -- I don't know how many -- but I don't think it'll be that long. Listen, it happens."
Like his players, Rivers did think the worst when the injury first occurred. It now appears it might simply be his right calf that's the trouble spot, with the team stressing it's a lower leg ailment, but not the ankle or the knee.
"The way he did it, I thought the knee or Achilles," Rivers said. "You've heard me say it before, an injury when no one is around, that's usually a severe one. I was thinking it was a bad one, but let's hope not. I don't think it is, but we'll find out later."
Rivers didn't get specific, but did note that the injury was pretty clear-cut as trainer Eddie Lacerte briefed him at halftime. Rivers said his team can win games without Garnett, but admitted he's irreplaceable on the defensive end, evidenced on a night when the Celtics gave up 104 points to the Pistons and lost for the second time on a three-game holiday road trip.
Garnett underwent right knee arthroscopy and removal of posterior knee bone spurs in May 2008 after initially suffering the knee injury in March of that year. He missed the postseason, where the Celtics' hopes of defending their 17th world title were thwarted by the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Despite returning for the start of the 2009-10 season, Garnett looked like a player still recovering from knee surgery. Two games after Christmas, in a game against Golden State, Garnett was kicked in the right knee, suffering a hyperextension that forced him to sit out 10 games. It wasn't until the playoffs that he returned to form.
Looking spry again this season, Garnett entered Wednesday's game averaging 15.4 points and 9.8 rebounds per game.
Garnett was in the spotlight entering Wednesday's game for his war of words with Detroit's Charlie Villanueva, who accused Garnett of calling him a "cancer patient" during in-game trash talk during Boston's win over the Pistons in early November.
Garnett fist-bumped every Detroit player except Villanueva before the game, then Villanueva picked up two quick fouls for being overly physical with Garnett. While leaving the court, Villanueva appeared to bump Garnett. But the rivalry took a back seat to Garnett's injury, which left Boston rattled late in the first quarter.
Information from ESPNBoston.com's Chris Forsberg and The Associated Press was used in this report.