BOSTON (CBS) — We’ve been talking about Kemba Walker’s knee for weeks, but we can finally talk about the point guard playing for the Boston Celtics. After sitting out Friday’s exhibition game against the Thunder, Walker was in Boston’s lineup against the Suns on Sunday, his first action for the team since early March.
And dare we say, Walker looked pretty good in his abbreviated debut?
There was some obvious rust for Walker to knock off, but the point guard looked surprisingly spry in his nine minutes of action in Orlando. He scored six points off 2-of-6 shooting, with one of those buckets a nice drive to the basket that resulted in a layup over Phoenix center Deandre Ayton. Walker was also active on the defensive end in his brief appearance, and said he felt good after hitting the floor.
“I’m just looking to take steps forward,” said Walker, who played six minutes in the first quarter and three in the second before sitting out the second half.
Just getting on the floor in game action is a nice step forward for Walker, who has been limited since January by a lingering left knee issue.
“I thought he looked good,” head coach Brad Stevens said of Walker’s appearance. “He had burst, I thought he played hard defensively. He created chaos on a couple of different plays. Offensively I thought he got to the rim and/or got his shot.”
Walker’s shot wasn’t as crisp as it usually is, as he hit just one of his four attempts from downtown and just one of his three free throws. But he was moving pretty well after such a lengthy layoff, and just seeing Walker on the floor should alleviate many of the concerns of the last few weeks.
That doesn’t mean Walker won’t be on a minutes restriction for the near future. Stevens reiterated that the team will limit Walker’s action when the seeding games of the NBA’s schedule get underway later this week, much to the chagrin of Walker.
“I would love to just be like, ‘You know what? I don’t care about no minutes restriction or anything of that nature.’ But obviously I can’t,” Walker said Sunday. “I’ve got to be smart about things. At this point, it just is what it is.
“I want to be there for my teammates when we’re in the playoffs,” he urged. “Hopefully by then, the restrictions and things of that nature are completely off.”