As the Boston Celtics resume their season, questions remain about Kemba Walker’s knee injury and his status for the NBA restart. As of now, all indications are Walker plans to play against the Bucks, but fans can expect the point guard’s minutes to be limited as Boston continues to monitor his injury.
“Brad Stevens says Kemba Walker will stick to 14-20 minutes limit no matter what in the opener on Friday night,” 985 the Sports Hub’s Brian Robb tweeted.
Robb also reported that Stevens described Walker’s knee as “the strongest its been since he got here in September.” Yet, Walker’s own admitted frustration over the nagging injury seems to paint a different picture.
“Yeah, it’s been frustrating,” Walker told NBC Sports Boston. “I’ve been going through this pretty much most of the season, even before this bubble stuff. So, it’s been something that’s been nagging for a little bit now. Unfortunately it’s still bothering me even after I’ve put in a lot of work and did the necessary things to try to get it right.”
Walker Is Still Dealing With Knee Pain Despite the Long Layoff
Part of the frustration is that the NBA has been halted since March, but Walker seems to still be dealing with discomfort in his knee despite the additional rest. The minutes restriction ties into Walker’s goal of being ready for the NBA playoffs, but the Celtics still have eight regular season games remaining.
“This is the first time in my career I’ve ever had to go through this, so it’s kind of tough,” Walker added. “But I’ll get there. I know what it’s about. I know it’s about me getting better for the playoffs. I’m working every single day to get myself prepared to play big minutes in the future. …It’s something that a lot of athletes go through. Injuries happen. You’re not going to feel your best all the time. … I’m just staying positive. That’s really all I can do.”
The Celtics Are the No. 3 Seed Heading Into the NBA Restart
The good news for the Celtics is the talent surrounding Walker. With players like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, the Celtics have enough firepower to offset Walker’s limited minutes to finish out the regular season. The challenge is for the Celtics to make a deep-playoff run the team is likely going to need more from Walker.
Boston heads into the NBA restart as the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference and are three games back from the Raptors. The Celtics also have to watch behind them in the standings as the Heat are only 2.5 games back from the third seed. There may not be home-court advantage at stake, but the Celtics still want to enter the playoffs on a high note.
“From a home-court advantage (perspective), obviously not,” Tatum noted, per Yahoo Sports. “But for us, we want to take it one game at a time. We want to win every game that we play. It’s not about, ‘If we lose, it’s cool because home court advantage doesn’t really matter.’ We’re trying to get better ourselves as individuals and as a team. So, we’re just trying to get better every game. … Then, once the playoffs come, we’ll play who we play.”