BOSTON (CBS) — It’s very unlikely that Kemba Walker will suit up for the Boston Celtics on Monday night. But the news on the injured Celtics point guard isn’t as dire as many believed when Walker collapsed on the floor after running into teammate Semi Ojeleye Friday night in Denver.
As scary as it was to see Walker wheeled off the floor on a stretcher in Denver, the Celtics offered a promising update on their star guard Sunday. Walker is not in the NBA’s concussion protocol, according to head coach Brad Stevens, and has been diagnosed with just a neck sprain. He’s considered doubtful for Monday night’s game against the Kings, but Stevens said the situation could be a lot worse.
“We’re just really lucky that it didn’t end up being near as bad as any of us thought,” Stevens told reporters after Sunday’s practice at the Auerbach Center in Brighton. “They went through a series of things with the Denver doctors and a series of things when he got back [Saturday] with our doctors. He is continuing to be monitored in case any [concussion symptoms] show up, but he’s been good and he feels good. It’s kind of a minor miracle based on what we saw the other day.
“The strain is real and he has some soreness in his back and neck, but that’s it,” added Stevens.
It sounds like Walker has progressed well over the last few days, and having him sit out Monday night’s game is the team being cautious with their star player.
“I think he could probably play with the sprain part,” said Stevens, “but we want to make sure with the way he hit, and because of the sensitivity to head injuries.”
While the Celtics won’t have Walker in the lineup for their first game back in Boston following a five-game road trip, it doesn’t sound like Walker will be sidelined for very long.
Stevens also shared an updated on injured forward Gordon Hayward, who has been out since breaking a bone in his non-shooting hand on Nov. 9. Hayward put up some shots before Sunday’s practice, and is recovering nicely from his surgery.
“He’s great. He’s healing well,” said Stevens. “There’s still some swelling where the incision was, but that’s to be expected. He’s doing a really good job. It seems like he’s on pace.”
Hayward was initially expected to be sidelined for six weeks, with Boston setting their sights on a Christmas Day return in Toronto. Stevens did not give an updated timeline on Hayward, but it sounds like the forward is progressing well.