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Kevin Garnett's back 'feels better' but return up in air

Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Garnett is defended by

Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Garnett is defended by San Antonio Spurs center Tiago Splitter in the first half of an NBA basketball game at Barclays Center on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2014. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Today's Nets topic: Kevin Garnett's back.

Not his return to action. Rather, an update on the injury -- back spasms -- that has caused him to miss the last 10 games, and will keep him out of at least a few more.

Garnett, a 14-time All-Star in his 19th season, spoke publicly for the first time in three weeks after Thursday's practice session (Garnett did not participate).

"Feeling better,'' he said. "Looking forward to being back out there. Not going to go into details and specifics but just knowing I'm getting stronger. The process is going very well. Had a bit of a setback when I tried to come back the other night [March 10], but other than that, I've been getting stronger ever since. Working on different dynamics and it's working for me. And I'm looking to be back soon.''

Following Friday night's's home game against Boston, the Nets will embark on a three-game trip, and Garnett said he had not yet discussed with team officials whether he will travel with them. Jason Kidd said he first wants to see Garnett "be able to practice, get some work in'' before setting a timetable on his return.

"This is a world I haven't been a part of,'' said Garnett, 37, who hadn't experienced back trouble in his career. "I like to think that I've been known for my strong back and shoulders. But this is what it is.

"The most frustrating part about this is that you just can't push through this. The back obviously deals with the legs, the lower part of the body, the core, your hand movements, your breathing. A lot of it comes into play.

"So it's not like an ankle where I can muscle through it, a knee or an arm, neck, something. This is damn near your [entire] body, so I have a whole new respect for it all. Through this whole thing I've been learning, learning. That's been helping my process and keeping me from being so frustrated, and I feel like I'm getting better.''

Garnett, who leads the team in rebounds (6.7 per game), has sought advice from reserve Andrei Kirilenko, who missed 26 games early this season with a similar injury. Meanwhile, in Garnett's absence, the Nets have won eight of 10 games and 6-11 rookie Mason Plumlee has blocked nine shots to push his season total to 41, surpassing Garnett's previous team lead of 36.

Garnett insisted he was not surprised.

"Mason is growing,'' Garnett said. "So I'm happy and proud of how the guys are playing together, and more importantly for Mason, his progression.''

For the time being, then, Garnett's backup remains a topic.

New York Sports