by Marcel Mutoni

As Kevin Garnett misses yet another game (he’s expected to sit out the 15th contest out of the last 19 tomorrow night against Charlotte), people in Boston are growing increasingly nervous about his health (and the team’s chances) with the Playoffs nearing.

According to GM Danny Ainge, there’s nothing to worry about – the team is just being cautious with their big man – but that doesn’t stop some from dreaming up some doomsday scenarios for the men in green and white.

From the Boston Herald:

Garnett is almost 33 and already has played 5,000 more minutes than Larry Bird did before Bird’s body gave out. And with Garnett we’re not talking about Artis Gilmore minutes, either. We’re talking about a Steve Prefontaine pace: Just go ’til you drop. Pierce, 31, and Allen, 33, aren’t much different. There never was any question about the hearts of these champions; it’s the knees and ankles and lower backs that eventually would derail them. Happens to the best.

Meanwhile, the Cavs already have won 60 games and are coasting to the best record in the NBA. They are 35-1 at home. Their leader is 24 years old and about to win his first MVP. He’s tossing in underhanded, 75-foot shots for Steve Kroft on “60 Minutes.” His smiling face is on all the magazines. It’s LeBron’s time now, which puts in the Celtics in an interesting position as they head into the playoffs.

They’re underdogs now. Long shots to even get out of the East. You can almost hear Garnett now: No one respects us, no one thinks we can do it, no one gives us any credit at all. He has a new rallying cry, which is good because he needs one. Winning without a healthy Kevin Garnett is not possible. Not in the playoffs. Not a chance.

So, there’s that.

The injuries and physical breakdowns are precisely what everyone feared when this Celtic team was assembled, and with the postseason just around the corner, it’s not hard to understand why hoops fans in New England are having a tough time sleeping.

Update: “After watching him move today, we’re just going to shut him down,” [Doc] Rivers said at practice this afternoon. “It probably won’t be for the year. He’ll probably play by the end, last couple of games, or last three games. It’s just not progressing the way we anticipated it would progress.