Jason Kidd joked he was tired of the media asking about Kevin Garnett’s status.
So instead of continuing the nearly three-week give and take, the head coach announced Garnett would be out for the rest of the week.
“I just got tired of you guys asking me,” Kidd said to chuckles at his pregame press conference. “So I made the decision, just the hold him back for a week. I was tired of answering it every day but we felt that we could hold him out until Saturday. But there’s no setback.”
By the time this week is over, Garnett will have missed 11 games with back spasms, which cost Andrei Kirilenko 25 games in November and December.
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Garnett will be re-evaluated Saturday after the team plays three home games against Phoenix, Charlotte and Boston. Next week, they begin a three-game road trip that will take them through Dallas, New Orleans and Charlotte. But at least this time, the Nets feel they have the capability to overcome injuries.
During Garnett’s absence, rookie Mason Plumlee has been adequately playing the role of “next man up,” getting a similar amount of minutes as Garnett while totaling 48 points and 43 rebounds as a center.
“I think he fits in great,” Kidd said. “He uses his athletic ability. He’s not Brook [Lopez] and we’re not going to throw the ball into him and have him post up, so he fits in great.”
Hornacek: Williams still a handful
There is a segment of Net fans who believe Deron Williams might be losing a step as his time with the team goes on.
Williams has already missed 16 games with various ankle injuries this season.
But even though his 14 points per game is the second-lowest of his career and his 6.4 assists per game are the second-lowest of his career, many coaches describe trying to stop Williams as being a handful.
The latest is rookie Phoenix coach Jeff Hornacek, who previously was an assistant coach for the Jazz, working with Williams from 2007-11. During that time, Williams was playing with Carlos Boozer, Andrei Kirilenko and Mehmet Okur and the styles were different than what the Nets are running.
“He’s still a great player,” Hornacek said. “I don’t know, maybe some of the injuries he had slowed him down a little bit. I was just watching on tape and he made a move, threw it up the court and did a crossover — typical Deron Williams that I remember. He hasn’t lost much, but again [he is] a handful to deal with because of his size and his strength.”
Follow Nets beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.