Celtics Update Availability of Kemba Walker & Time Lord for Must-Win Game 5

Celtics injury update on Kemba Walker and Robert Williams

Getty Kemba Walker #8 of the Boston Celtics looks on during the first half against the Los Angeles Lakers at TD Garden.

The Boston Celtics are in do-or-die territory, as one more loss will officially draw their disappointing 2020-21 campaign to a halt. Unfortunately, when the C’s take the court at Barclay’s Center on Tuesday night, they’ll once again be shorthanded — an all too common occurrence this season.

Point guard Kemba Walker (left knee medial bone bruise) and big man Robert Williams III (left ankle sprain) have been officially ruled out for Game 5 of the first-round series vs. the Nets, which tips off at 7:30 p.m ET. Both players missed Sunday’s Game 4 loss, as the Celtics were blown out by 15 points.

“They both really wanted to play, they’ve been in constant contact with our trainers,” head coach Brad Stevens said prior to Game 4, via the Boston Herald. “We’re just trying to have them available. So they’re both bummed, but there’s no other thought than that: Trying to get guys back as fast as possible. Making sure we’re responsible to their health is our responsibility, first and foremost.”

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Stevens on Kemba Walker

Walker, who is no stranger to knee issues, suffered his most recent ailment during Game 2. While he was able to gut it out for Game 3, logging 34 minutes, the injury appeared to play a detrimental part in his on-court performance. The 31-year-old shot just 3-of-14 from the field and turned the ball over five times, finishing the game with six points, eight rebounds and three assists.

“Probably a combination of them. But he’s sore. He’s really — like, he’s dying to play,” said Stevens. “It hurts if he’s unable to. He’s not a guy that likes to miss, especially with the anticipation of getting back in this series. You had a huge win on Friday, great opportunity tonight in front of your home crowd. It’s probably a combination of those two things.”

After managing his workload for much of the year, Walker looked to be tapping into his perennial All-Star form late in the regular season. The Bronx native scored 29-plus points in four of his final games. However, he failed to carry over his hot streak into the playoffs. Through three games, Walker has shot 31.7% from the field and a horrendous 17.6% from 3-point range.

While Walker’s injury woes are a major sticking point amongst Celtics faithful (understandably so), Williams hasn’t been any luckier in terms of avoiding the injury bug. The 23-year-old has dealt with numerous lower-body injuries of late. On top of dealing with his ankle sprain, the former two-time SEC Defensive Player of the Year has also battled knee tendinitis and a turf toe in recent months.

“The ankle injury is not like a high ankle sprain or anything that’s too significant, but he is really sore,” said Stevens. “And the turf toe on top of that — he tried to give it a go the other night and didn’t look like he was moving at all. He spent the better part of each of these off days in a boot. He has not felt any better. This morning I thought he was more unlikely than Kemba. He’s in a lot of discomfort.”

Williams set the franchise record for blocks in a playoff game with nine in Game 1 of the series. Yet, since then he’s logged a total of just 23 minutes, amassing zero blocks, eight points, six rebounds and one assist over that span.


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