Garnett ready to return to open Western Conference road trip

DENVER -- Boston coach Doc Rivers expects some disagreement from Kevin Garnett.

However, no amount of pleading will sway Rivers from his plan. Garnett, who's been sidelined since Jan. 25 with a strained abdominal muscle, will only play a limited number of minutes in Tuesday night's game with the Denver Nuggets.

Rivers wouldn't reveal how much court time Garnett would see in his return.

"I know exactly what I'm going to do with him," Rivers said. "I'm not going to vary from it."

Rivers was asked if he thought Garnett might yell about the amount of minutes he'd play.

"He's going to do that," Rivers said with a grin. "Once you're out there, you feel fine. You don't want to come out."

With Garnett out of the lineup, the Celtics won seven of nine, including five straight before the All-Star break.

"They were great," Rivers said. "But we don't want to get used to it."

Garnett is averaging 19.2 points and 9.9 rebounds this season, and anchors a Celtics defense that's allowing an NBA-low 89.4 points per game.

"He's one of the great basketball players we have in this league," Nuggets center
Marcus Camby said. "He's a great player, a guy who really makes that team go -- from a scoring standpoint and an emotional standpoint."

Rivers won't even attempt to tell Garnett to tone down him emotions in his first game back.

"He is who he is," Rivers said. "That's not going to change. That's what makes him Kevin. We want him to be that."