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Garnett, Stoudemire absent from Celtics, Suns clash

Feb 22, 2009 - 1:59 PM Boston (44-12) at Phoenix (31-23) 2:30 p.m. EST

PHOENIX (Ticker) -- Without their emotional leader and defensive anchor, the Boston Celtics may have a tough time stopping one of the hottest teams in the NBA.

Lucky for the Celtics, the Phoenix Suns are missing a key part as well.

The Celtics try to overcome the loss of Kevin Garnett when they visit the Suns on Sunday.

Garnett, who was last season's Defensive Player of the Year, was diagnosed with a posterior muscle strain in his right knee that will keep the All-Star out two to three weeks.

Garnett suffered the injury in the second quarter of Thursday's 90-85 loss to Utah on a non-contact play. With 1:56 left in the first half, he was chasing down a Jazz break and, after leaping in the air to contest a play, seemed to twist something in mid-air and deliberately landed on his good leg.

The veteran forward's presence will be missed against Phoenix, which has scored at least 140 points in each of its three games since interim coach Alvin Gentry took over for the fired Terry Porter.

The Suns claimed a 140-118 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday hours after they learned that All-Star Amare Stoudemire would likely miss the remainder of the regular season after having surgery to repair a partially detached retina in his right eye.