By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — A sore left knee will keep Kemba Walker out of Tuesday night’s tilt with the Portland Trail Blazers. This will be the third straight game that the Celtics point guard sits out with the issue.
The Celtics continue to say that the knee soreness isn’t a long-term issue with the 29-year-old Walker. But as the number of missed games rises, so too does the concern surrounding Boston’s leader.
Walker played 29 minutes in the NBA All-Star game last Sunday, and then had to have his knee drained and receive an injection for the swelling. He went all-out in a meaningless exhibition game, scoring 23 points, and now Walker is slated to miss his 11th game of the season. Thanks a lot, Nick Nurse.
The last time Walker missed this many games in a season was back in 2014-15, when he needed surgery to repair a torn lateral meniscus in his left knee and missed 20 games.
Maybe the knee issue isn’t a big deal, and the Celtics are going above and beyond with Walker’s “load management” with the postseason just around the corner. But this seems like an injury Walker and the Celtics are going to have to manage the rest of the season.
Portland will be without their own star point guard in Damian Lillard on Tuesday, making the matchup against the 26-32 Blazers even more of a layup for Boston. Really, they don’t need Kemba on Tuesday. (But they certainly could have used him Sunday against the Lakers.)
If Walker can return to his old form in the coming weeks, missing a few games in late February won’t be a big deal in the grand scheme of things. But if this knee injury lingers more and more, and Walker is still hampered by the issue when the playoffs arrive, that All-Star game appearance is going to be even more infuriating for the Celtics and their fans.