NBA

Kemba Walker Puts His Foot Down Regarding His Return to the Boston Celtics

Boston Celtics point guard Kemba Walker is doing whatever he can to manage his balky left knee. Walker clearly wasn’t 100 percent during Boston’s run through the Eastern Conference Finals. With a quick turnaround to the 2020-21 season, Walkers is making it clear he’s coming back on his terms.

Kemba Walker has stem cell injection in knee

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Boston Celtics point guard Kemba Walker is putting a lot of trust in his doctors. Walker has been battling through a knee injury that affected his postseason play. He recently had a stem cell injection in his left knee that is expected to keep him out for the early part of the upcoming season. Ask Walker about the procedure and he can’t tell you much.

It’s not that he’s trying to be tight-lipped about what happened. He just doesn’t know a whole lot about the procedure. At a press conference from the team’s practice facility, Walker said he couldn’t tell you what the doctors did to his knee. “I can’t,” Walker said. “Can’t lie. I don’t know. Gotta ask the doctors. It’s supposed to help me. I know that and I just went into it. I trust the doctors, I trust the people helping me.”

On Wednesday, Walker told reporters from the team’s training facility that the knee had responded well so far. He’s not likely to return to action before the end of January. It’s definitely calmed my knee down a lot,” Walker said, according to The Associated Press. “Feeling really good right now. Just taking my time, trying to continue to feel good, get stronger.”

Walker’s left knee has been a problem for a while

During his last four years with the Charlotte Hornets, Kemba Walker missed a combined six games. He was as durable and reliable as they come. He also underwent surgery for a torn meniscus in his left knee in May of 2016. Walker then had back-to-back arthroscopic surgeries on the same knee in 2017 and 2018.

Last season, Walker took part in the NBA All-Star Game, but then didn’t play in a regular-season game after. When the season was derailed by the coronavirus (COVID-19), it gave Walker some time to heal. He did return to the bubble in Orlando but wasn’t overly effective.

Walker told The Associated Press he wasn’t the same player during the 2020 postseason. “To be honest, it wasn’t good. I wasn’t myself,” Walker said. “I played through it and I was able to get through it. … It was tough, but you know a lot of guys are banged up. Everybody’s hurt. I try not to make excuses.”

Walker will return on his terms

Kemba Walker doesn’t want to rush back and risk reinjuring his knee. He reiterated that he wasn’t the same during the postseason and doesn’t want to make that same mistake of coming back prematurely. “Last year in the playoffs, I wasn’t at my best, and it sucked,” Walker said at the Celtics press conference. “I don’t wanna be that way anymore.”

He was frustrated during the playoffs and has made it a point to return when he feels he’s ready. “I’m coming back when I need to come back and when I’m feeling good to play,” Walker said. “That’s it. I haven’t really been a guy who’s been hurt over the course of my career, so this sucks, but I also love basketball and I wanna play at a high level in front of the fans who come to watch this game.”

He said the plan is baby steps. “I met with a few (doctors) and the goal was just to get to the bottom of things and figure out what would help me get back to who I am as a player,” Walker said. “Decided not to rush back, take my time, and just get healthy. I’ve had a pretty long run. Haven’t had much of a break since I signed here. So, think it will be nice for me, to tell you the truth.”