BOSTON (CBS) — Kemba Walker was held out of Monday’s practice, marking the second straight day the Celtics All-Star point guard has had to rest his bothersome left knee.
But the Celtics don’t seem too concerned, as the team continues its cautious approach with Walker in hopes that he’ll be back to his usual self in time for the NBA playoffs. And even though Walker didn’t practice with the team, his jumper looked pretty good on Monday:
9 straight 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥pic.twitter.com/Fz36w1gg1m
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) July 13, 2020
The team will get the day off Tuesday in Orlando, but Walker will be back on the court for Wednesday’s practice, according to head coach Brad Stevens.
“He had a little bit of discomfort after a couple of the individual workouts,” Stevens told reporters following Monday’s practice. “He certainly, I think, feels better than he did even in March. But with just even the small discomfort we said, ‘Let’s take the four days and ramp it up appropriately.’
“The number one thing is strength and strength around the knee,” added Stevens. “Hard to do that with the four days we just had. I didn’t think we had a great practice today, in large part because we went really hard yesterday. We went at least semi hard today, so I thought it makes a lot of sense to then ramp him up as we start up again on Wednesday. That may mean he’s a little behind when we start scrimmage play, but his health is the most important thing — not just for this particular period but the long run.”
The troublesome knee kept Walker out of the Boston lineup for a lengthy stretch around the All-Star break. He missed all of Boston’s four-game road trip following the break. He struggled upon his return, hitting just 30.5 percent of his shots in his four games back, and the Celtics had to devise a plan around his rest and recuperation during the season’s final stretch. That all happened ahead of the NBA’s COVID-19 hiatus, which gave Walker a lot more time to rest his knee.
But after the team help practices back in Boston last week, and now a handful of sessions down in Orlando, the knee is acting up again. Once again, the Celtics are hoping some added rest will get Walker back to his normal self.
In his first season in Boston, Walker has averaged 21.2 points off 42 percent shooting from the floor and 4.9 assists over 50 games. The Celtics will play their first exhibition game on July 24, with their first seeding game of the NBA’s return set for July 31 against the Milwaukee Bucks.