When the Boston Celtics resume their season on July 31, Kemba Walker will be on a minutes restriction for the remainder of the regular season restart.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens announced on Saturday that Walker will most likely begin the restarted eight-game regular season on a minutes restriction with the hopes that he will not be restricted for when the playoffs eventually begin.
“We’re going to move very slowly with Kemba Walker and let him strengthen [the left knee]. And make sure that he’s all good to go as we enter the seeding games and obviously, the playoffs.”- Brad Stevens, per A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston
If you remember correctly, Walker was experiencing soreness in his left knee that resulted in him missing games and was playing limited minutes leading into the All-Star break. He later required fluid to be drained from his knee just prior to the NBA’s hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I really, really needed to get that break. It definitely helped me get back to myself and start to feel comfortable on my knee.” – Kemba Walker, per A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston
At this point, it’s fair to say that if the NBA never came to an abrupt halt in March that the Celtics would have been left with a much more limited Walker than what we’re now going to see heading into the playoffs.
In doing so, the Celtics have already started this very process. The team held Walker out of their first hard, live session practice on Sunday. It’s quite evident that the Celtics need Walker to be as close to 100 percent as possible to get through any stretch in the playoffs.
Walker is Boston’s second-leading scorer this season with 21.2 points per game in addition to his 4.9 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game. With him in the lineup, the Celtics are easily one of the best teams in the league and are capable of going up against any team in the playoffs.
If Walker does, unfortunately, need to miss time during the playoffs, there’s a strong possibility that the Boston Celtics would be out two starters considering that Gordon Hayward is already scheduled to be out sometime in September for the birth of his fourth child.
If that was to unfortunately happen, the Celtics’ overall rotation would be all discombobulated that could possibly result in an early exit from the playoffs for a team that is tremendously poised for a long and successful playoff run.
It’s unknown and unfair to continue the speculation as to why Walker may or may not have been on a minutes restriction in the All-Star game (and why Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse extended him in that game). But moving forward, let’s hope that it works for the best this time around as Walker and the Boston Celtics are essentially getting a second chance to finish the season out whole and healthy.