The Celtics head coach reminded everyone of that notion when he was asked for an update on Walker’s left knee. Walker, who consulted with multiple specialists over his knee injury, ultimately agreed to a stem cell injection in early October.
Brad Stevens On Kemba Walker’s Health Status: ‘He Won’t Be Back Anytime Soon’
Still, Walker’s prognosis from this point moving forward remains gloomy.
“No update that I’ve received other than that he is progressing,” Stevens said. “I think we’ll have more of a big picture update here in the next week sometime. As we thought, right around the turn of the new year; he won’t be back anytime soon.”
Stevens reiterated Walker’s progression, thus far. He reminded everyone that while his All-Star point guard will eventually be back in uniform, in an effort to avoid additional setbacks; the Celtics aren’t in any rush to bring Kemba back into the fold.
“Certainly, we’re hopeful to get him back as soon as possible but we’re hopeful that when we do, it’s for good,” Stevens explained. “I think that’s the most critical thing from our standpoint.”
Still, with an above-.500 record five-game into the regular season, Stevens will take it with a smile as he and the Celtics stroll into January. The beginning of 2021 is a crucial month; it’s when team officials say they’ll be able to determine a realistic timetable for Walker’s return.
In the meantime, all eyes will be focused on Boston, as it attempts to keep things afloat with Kemba waiting in the wings.
Brad Stevens On Kemba Walker & 2021 Celtics: ‘You Can See How Much We Miss Him’
Out of the gate, the Celtics (3-2) have faced three of the feistiest opponents in the Eastern Conference. Stevens knew this wouldn’t be easy.
“You can see how we miss him,” Stevens said. “It’s funny when we go back and put together clips of things that maybe we haven’t covered or things that we’d like to do differently; he’s in all of them. We’ve got to figure out how to be the best version of ourselves until he gets back.
“I think that starts with being a little better defensively and then getting as good of shots as we can.”
The Celtics’ Newbees Stepping Up
In Walker’s absence, guys like All-Star Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Marcus Smart have answered the call while the newcomers; Tristan Thompson, Jeff Teague, and rookie Payton Pritchard are all making immediate impacts on both ends of the floor.
Thompson is currently leading the Celtics in rebounding (8.5), Teague holds a team-high 60% field-goal percentage, and Pritchard is stuffing the stat sheet on a nightly basis averaging 8.2 points while shooting 60.7% from the floor, including a 55.6% clip from behind the arc.
Add 2.2 assists and 1.6 steals per game and the late first-round pick is off to a hot start. He and the Celtics will look to string together their third straight win when they take on the Detroit Pistons on Friday.