If there’s one positive that can come out of the NBA being gone for a few months, it’s that players who were dealing with injuries had more time to recover from those injuries. Instead of sitting out games, or even missing playoff time, players were able to heal up and get ready for whenever the season was going to resume.
Before the NBA season went on a hiatus, the Boston Celtics were dealing with a handful of injuries. Jaylen Brown sat out the last four games of the season due to a right hamstring strain. Kemba Walker was dealing with a left knee injury. This caused him to sit out nine of 13 games between February 1 and March 4. Even Robert Williams missed the last game of the season due to a back injury.
According to Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald, Brown, Walker, and Williams have all looked healthy and seem like they’ll be ready to go when the NBA season resumes July 30 in Orlando.
“Jaylen’s been working out. He looks healthy, looks good,” Danny Ainge told Bulpett. “And Kemba’s been working out, too. So time will tell on all of that. Rob looks healthy, too.”
Jaylen Brown had been dealing with several different injuries throughout the season. Unfortunately, this caused him to miss 14 games in total. But this hamstring injury caused him to miss quite a few games towards the end of the season. Jaylen Brown began to emerge as a top two-way player for the Celtics. Brown was a big reason for their success this season. There’s no doubt Boston would’ve kept him sidelined until he was fully healthy. This could’ve affected the Eastern Conference standings profoundly.
Kemba Walker’s injury was nerve-wracking for Boston fans considering he had a near-perfect track record when it came to injuries before he came to Boston. In the past four years he spent in Charlotte, he only missed six games. This year alone, Walker missed 14 games. Walker’s knee injury started bothering him the most after the All-Star game, where he played 29 minutes in a game that meant virtually nothing in the grand scheme of things.
One thing Boston lacked all season long was big man depth. A big reason for that was because Robert Williams couldn’t stay healthy. Williams was on the sidelines most of the season due to a hip edema. Although he returned after the All-Star break, he never played more than 16 minutes. He then suffered a back strain and sat out the last game of the season against Indiana.
The NBA season being suspended indefinitely back in March may have been a blessing in disguise to Boston. Who knows how long these injuries would have kept nagging these three players, especially Brown and Walker. Without those two being at full strength, Boston would have struggled heading into the playoffs. If they were still nursing those injuries when the playoffs began, there’s a chance their dreams of making a deep playoff run would’ve been shattered early on.
“Time will tell us about the health of players,” Ainge said. “I mean, there’s always injuries going on, but I’m confident that Kemba and Jaylen are going to have a really good (remainder) of the year.”
The Celtics core five of Kemba Walker, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Gordon Hayward, and Marcus Smart were only active together for 13 out of the 64 games Boston played this season. The fact that Boston was still able to go 43-21 while currently sitting as the third seed in the Eastern Conference says a lot about this team.
This news about Walker, Brown, and Williams being healthy once again should be a sigh of relief for Boston fans. With a fully healthy Celtics roster, this team can beat just about any team in the NBA.
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Dante Turo (@DanteOnDeck)
Photo: Brian Babineau | Credit: NBAE via Getty Images