Boston fans have become a bit concerned with Kemba Walker and his knee injury lately. Walker has had plenty of time to recover from an injury that has been bothering him during most of the second half of the season. But there still seems to be some lingering issues.
Once the team started practicing again in the Orlando bubble, Walker began to experience some pain in his knee. Walker said he felt some pain return to the left side of his knee after returning to practice. Since then, Boston has been taking it slow with Walker’s recovery since the team traveled down to Orlando.
Kemba hasn’t been practicing every day with the team. The Celtics have put him on a one-day on, one-day off schedule to avoid any setbacks or cause any more pain to his knee.
Not being able to go full speed and taking things slow isn’t typical for Kemba. Over his last four years in Charlotte, the All-Star guard only missed four games. Walker sat out 14 games so far in his first year in Boston. 10 of those, he sat out over the last two months of the season.
“It’s definitely pretty frustrating,” Walker said. “Just because I’m not a guy who misses many games, especially throughout the course of my career.”
Kemba realizes that taking things slow is the best route for both him and the team to take here. There’s no need for Walker to rush back into things. As great as it would be to have him playing his normal minutes when the season starts back up, the bigger picture is being fully healthy for the playoffs.
“This is not normal for me being out like this,” Walker said. “But this is just the smart way to go about things because I want to be at my best for my teammates and this organization when that regular season comes around, and most definitely in the Playoffs.”
Not only is this injury frustrating for Walker, but it’s frustrating for the fans too. A lot of people believe Kemba’s All-Star game appearance is to blame for this injury. He was already dealing with knee pain at the time, but he still played 32 minutes in the All-Star game, including 15 minutes in an untimed fourth quarter.
“There’s no way he would have played or our medical staff would have [let him play] if they thought this was going to be possible after the break,’’ Stevens said back in February. “It’s just unfortunate.’’
Despite missing out on practices and not going full speed like the rest of his teammates, Kemba says he’s feeling no pain in his knee. Brad Stevens mentioned that Kemba is feeling good and getting back into the swing of things.
“He did a lot of running yesterday, shooting. He’s shooting a little bit right now. He’s reacted great, his knee feels good, and that’s a good thing.”
Brad Stevens also added that the team believes Walker will “be available when we’re playing games.”
Boston fans should be relieved to hear that Walker isn’t too concerned about his injury. He’s even optimistic that he will be back and better than ever when his knee is all healed up.
“I’m not really concerned much, honestly, because I think I’m trending upwards, and I’m getting better, and I’m getting closer to my return. I’m fine. I’ll be back better than ever.”
Boston center Enes Kanter added in a few words as well, saying that Boston fans shouldn’t be worried. Why? Because it’s Kemba Walker.
“For Kemba, it’s like riding a bike,” Kanter said. “Once he’s out there, he’s going to get everybody rolling. He’s going to make himself better, he’s going to make everybody else better around him. The Celtics fans should not be so worried about him. It’s Kemba Walker.”
As the season gets closer, Kemba just wants to get back on the court and be out there with his teammates. He hasn’t been able to share the court with them that much throughout the second half of the season. Keep in mind, this is when Jayson Tatum emerged as a bonafide superstar. Walker is excited to play alongside Tatum and be an even tougher duo than they were at the beginning of the season.
“I think we can be pretty tough, for sure,” Walker said. “Since he’s been killing it the way he’s been, I haven’t really been able to help out like I really wanted to, so yeah, I’m definitely looking forward to coming back and making an impact on my teammates and just being readier than I was before the season ended.”
The Boston Celtics have had a terrible track record when it comes to injuries over the past few years. Between Isaiah Thomas, Gordon Hayward, Kyrie Irving, and now Kemba Walker, the Celtics can’t seem to catch a break. It seems Kemba’s injury isn’t anything to be too concerned about. But it’s definitely something to keep an eye on as the season plays out.
I’m going to continue to be optimistic and believe Kemba Walker when he says he’ll be back and better than ever. Although the team has been used to playing without him recently, we all know Boston needs a healthy Cardiac Kemba if they want to make a serious title run.
-Dante Turo (@DanteOnDeck)
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