MINNEAPOLIS – Kemba Walker has been ruled out of tonight’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves and will be re-evaluated for future availability after the Celtics travel to Los Angeles for their Sunday matinee matchup with the Lakers.
Walker developed swelling in his left knee upon his return to Boston following the All-Star break. The swelling was treated with two different types of procedures, according to head coach Brad Stevens.
“Obviously he didn’t [practice] Wednesday, and then we decided to - what is it? – drain the swelling,” Stevens said. “And then he got an injection of Synvisc, which is a pretty common thing when guys are dealing with swelling and knee soreness.”
Stevens then explained how Walker’s current knee situation varies from what he experienced at the start of February, which caused the All-Star point guard to miss three games due to knee soreness.
“The difference between how his knee presented on Wednesday (and) how it presented throughout his period of soreness that we had sat him with, was he just had a lot more swelling,” the coach stated. “Obviously, that was an indicator that we needed to check it. He had another scan. Knee looks good structurally. But he’s going to be managing it and dealing with it, as he has all year.”
The Celtics do not know when Walker will return to their lineup. However, after saying that the injury “doesn’t sound like it’s long-term,” Stevens did not rule out a return for Walker as early as Sunday in LA.
“I don’t know what our plan of attack is after today. I haven’t even asked,” he said. “But I think it’s short-term enough that that will be in the discussion.
“And we also have to just decide, kinda like we did in the period before the All-Star break: does he benefit from strengthening for a week without games? Does he benefit from strengthening for two weeks without games? I don’t know what the answer to that is. That’s where he and the medical staff have to put their heads together and come up with a plan, and we’ll follow it.”
Speaking of the medical staff, Stevens went out of his way to defend the group’s plan for Walker prior the All-Star break, as well as allowing him to play in the All-Star game itself. Walker missed three games before returning to play the final four leading into the break, including one game during which Walker played more than 45 minutes. He also played major minutes during a competitive All-Star contest.
“I do think it’s important (to state): there’s no way he would have played or our medical staff would have played (him) if they thought that this was going to be possible after the break,” he said.
Stevens then commented on those 45-plus minutes Walker logged during a double-overtime win over the LA Clippers right before the All-Star break.
“So, what they (the medical staff) said was that, they said he could have one big one,” Stevens revealed of the conversation around Walker’s playing time leading into the break. “Obviously that was as big one. There’s no question about it. Then he felt good enough after that, and we were fortunate with that.”
The C’s aren’t quite as fortunate now, but they are hopeful that Walker’s knee will respond well to treatment and that he’ll be back in the lineup soon.
As of Friday, ‘soon’ could mean as early as Sunday, or it could mean two weeks from now. Boston should have a much clearer picture of Walker’s future availability once Walker is evaluated this weekend in Los Angeles.
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