The Boston Celtics will be without Kemba Walker when they take on the Brooklyn Nets. Walker will not play as a precaution as the Celtics are holding him out of back-to-back games as he continues to recover from a knee injury. Celtics head coach Brad Stevens announced the news after the team’s loss to the Heat. As Jayson Tatum noted after the game, the Celtics are keeping their eyes on the postseason.
“Obviously we want to win all of these games, but equally important is getting everybody healthy, playing well, building chemistry, and just making sure guys are getting in rhythm for the playoffs,” Tatum noted, per the Celtics.
The good news is Walker played 27 minutes against the Heat, so the Celtics are showing a willingness to have the star guard on the floor more than he played in the first two games. Walker finished with 15 points and four assists in the Celtics’ loss to the Heat.
Walker Admitted to Being Frustrated Over His Nagging Knee Injury
The Celtics had hoped the additional time off would help Walker’s knee, but the guard appears to still be dealing with the injury. Prior to the NBA restart, Walker admitted to being frustrated with the continued issues with his knee.
“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 may be frustrated, but the point guard understands that the playoffs are a bigger priority than the seeding games. It will be interesting to see how the Celtics approach Walker’s minutes when the postseason begins later this month.
“This is the first time in my career I’ve ever had to go through this, so it’s kind of tough,” Walker added, via NBC Sports Boston. “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 Have Just a 1.5-Game Lead on the Heat for the No. 3 Seed
Losing is never a good thing, but the Celtics loss to the Heat is especially difficult as Miami is chasing them in the standings. With the Celtics’ loss, the Heat moved within 1.5 games of the Celtics for the No. 3 seed.
The Celtics have little chance to move up in the standings after losing two of their first three games in Orlando but are now feeling more pressure from the teams behind them. Boston is 4.5 games back from Toronto for the No. 2 seed, but only holds a 2.5 game lead on the Pacers who currently sit at No. 5.