Celtics All-Star Ruled Out Until At Least January

Getty Images Kemba Walker will miss at least 12 weeks

Boston Celtics All-Star Kemba Walker will be missing the start of the regular season, the team announced Tuesday.

After a stem-cell injection in his left knee, Walker is now in a 12-week program. He’s slated to be re-evaluated by early January. The Celtics will begin their two-game preseason schedule on December 15 at Philadelphia against the 76ers and conclude it on December 18 against the Brooklyn Nets at TD Garden. The NBA regular season will commence on December 22.

February 2020: Kemba Walker Has Right Knee Drained, Injection

Walker, who before this year was considered one of the league’s ironmen at the point guard position, rarely missed any games until last winter. Following the All-Star break, Kemba’s left knee worsened.

Tuesday’s news means this isn’t the first time Walker’s knee went under the needle. He had it drained and received a Synvisc injection for swelling and soreness, back in February.

While the league shut down due to COVID-19 granted Walker the much-needed rest and rehabilitation he needed before competing in the postseason; his play in the NBA bubble, ahead of the offseason, left room for improvement.

Now, the quick layover means Walker, and the Celtics believe this is the best course of action in handling Kemba’s injured knee. After seeing a number of specialists, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge told reporters Tuesday the general consensus is that it doesn’t require surgery, at the moment.

The hope is that the program, along with rehabilitation, will ultimately reduce discomfort and bring Walker back to 100% or relatively close to it.

The Boston Celtics’ Kemba Walker Replacements

In the meantime, expect veteran guard Jeff Teague, along with Marcus Smart, to get the majority of playing time at point guard. Marcus saw an uptick in playing time with an injury-plagued Walker to divvy up minutes, now, Teague will fill a much-needed void.

Also, with second-year wing Romeo Langford recovering from a procedure done to repair his right wrist, Brad Stevens’ second unit just a lot thinner. According to the Celtics, Langford, who was initially expected to miss four-to-five months from the Sept. 22 procedure, is progressing as expected, up to this point.

Now, Stevens will have to turn to the novices. Grant Williams, Robert Williams, and Javonte Green are three names that first come to mind. Look for the not-so-young-anymore, second-to-third-year trio to step up big in the next few weeks.

What will be one of the more interesting out of the gate storylines this season is how quickly the newcomers adapt. First-round selections Aaron Nesmith and Payton Pritchard will not only be offered opportunities to crack Stevens’ rotation, but it will also be greatly encouraged to do so.

Realistically, the Celtics won’t set their hopes too high when it comes to the rookies, at least at the start, but without a lot of time to acclimate with one another and Kemba on ice; Brad’s going to have to get creative.

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