Kevin Garnett spoke to the media for the first time in weeks on Thursday. The Brooklyn Nets big man last suited up on Feb. 27 against the Denver Nuggets, and has since sat out silently with back spasms.
Garnett was scratched from the lineup two minutes before tipoff against the Toronto Raptors on March 10 and has missed the last 10 games, but said he is improving and hopes to return soon, via Andy Vasquez of The Record.
"The most frustrating part about this is that you just can't push through this," Garnett said, speaking to reporters for the first time in more than three weeks. "The back ... deals with the legs, the lower part of your body, the core, your hand movements, your breathing, a lot of it comes into play.
"I had a bit of a setback when I tried to come back [against Toronto], but other than that I've been getting stronger ever since," Garnett said said. "We're working on some different dynamics, and it's working for me, and I look [forward] to being out [there] soon."
Garnett added that he has "so much respect for the back now" and that teammate Andrei Kirilenko, who missed 25 games with back spasms this season, has "helped me through all of this process." He also credited Mason Plumlee, who is starting in his place at center, for making progress over the course of the season.
The Nets have gone 8-2 in March without Garnett and, at 35-31, are fifth in the Eastern Conference. They're two games behind the fourth-place Chicago Bulls.
Los Angeles Lakers point guard Steve Nash, who was previously ruled out for the season, practiced with the team in full on Thursday. Lakers head coach Mike D'Antoni opened the door for a possible return the previous day, saying, "It's still a possibility," via ESPN's Dave McMenamin.
The plan was to shelve Nash to evaluate the other backcourt options, but then Jordan Farmar injured his groin in practice on Monday. Los Angeles is down to one healthy point guard, Kendall Marshall, though Kent Bazemore and Xavier Henry can play a bit of point in a pinch.
Nash has been clear that he understands why the Lakers would shut him down, but he wants to keep playing.
Young to return on Friday
The shooting guard also revealed Los Angeles' goal for the rest of the season, via McMenamin:
"We just got to finish the year off not being the worst team in Lakers history," said Nick Young who will play Friday against the Washington Wizards for the first time since Feb. 23 because of a left knee injury. "I talked to Pau (Gasol) about it and he's been on me about coming back, so I'm trying to come back and help the team out."
It isn't going to be easy. The Lakers (22-45) would need to finish 9-6 to eclipse the franchise mark for futility set in 1974-75 when the team went 30-52. L.A. comes into the Washington game having only won nine of their last 41 games.
Reaching 30-plus wins won't be easy for a squad that has lost its last three games by an average of 26⅓ points.
Celtics to sign Babb for season
The Boston Celtics will sign guard Chris Babb for the remainder of the season, according to Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski. The deal includes future team options for Boston to keep Babb beyond this year.
Babb's second 10-day contract expired on Thursday. He has not played in the Celtics' last four games, but head coach Brad Stevens said "I love having him around" on Wednesday, via the team's Twitter account.
Ebanks suspended five games for violating anti-drug program
Devin Ebanks has been suspended five games for violating the anti-drug program, the NBA D-League announced on Thursday. The Springfield Armor forward is averaging 23.3 points per game in the D-League.
Ebanks spent training camp with the Dallas Mavericks, but was waived before the start of the season.