Getty Images Kemba Walker is expected to return to the Celtics very soon
Boston Celtics All-Star point guard Kemba Walker was cleared for practice Friday evening and is reportedly not far from reaching his and the team’s targeted return date.
On the same day when the Celtics learned they would be without three members of their frontcourt – Tristan Thompson, Robert Williams, and Grant Williams for at least seven days – due to the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols, the Kemba news was certainly a pleasant surprise. Head coach Brad Stevens, who initially teased that the Celtics would have a much better understanding of Walker’s situation, along with an update, by the first week of January.
Practicing exclusively with only members of the Celtics coaching staff, so far; Kemba’s right on schedule.
“He feels great. He looks good, although, I don’t think our coaches present much of a challenge,” Stevens said prior to Friday’s game against the Washington Wizards. “It’s a little bit of a Catch-22 in that regard; we’re encouraged. I’m sure he’ll be back sometime here in the near future. But, we’re going to progress through the next steps of workouts and practice.”
The upcoming week will be a crucial one. Because barring any setbacks, it should lead to the Celtics All-Star point guard’s 2021 season debut.
Boston Celtics Set Kemba Walker’s Return Date For Matchup Vs. Orlando Magic
According to the Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach, the Celtics are targeting next Friday’s matchup against the Magic at TD Garden for his return.
Obviously will ultimately depend on how Kemba’s full team workouts go but I’ve been hearing that they’re targeting next Friday vs Orlando for his return.
— Adam Himmelsbach (@AdamHimmelsbach) January 8, 2021
In the meantime, first thing’s first; reunite Kemba with his teammates.
“I think the next progression for him is to get out there on the court with the other guys on the team,” Stevens said. “He’s been out there with the coaching staff; both with one-on-one workouts and doing his reads with four-on-four and five-on-five stuff. The next step now is to play some live with our guys. I don’t think he’s too far. He looks great, he feels great – probably the best he’s felt since he’s been here.”
Brad Stevens On Kemba Walker’s Road To Recovery: ‘He’s been like ‘I’ve Got To Make Sure It’s Stronger’
Stevens also added that one of the most encouraging signs has been how much pain Walker is feeling nowadays. Brad credits Kemba and one of the team’s strength coaches for the hard work the two have been putting in rehabbing Walker’s knee the past two months.
“He’s been pain-free for a couple of months, well, maybe not a couple of months but he started it before he came back,” Stevens said. “He and one of our strength coaches, Jace Delaney, have been very vigilant. They’ve put in a lot of time together and put in a heck of a plan and have followed it to a tee. Credit to Kemba; he’s been like ‘I’ve got to make sure it’s stronger so it’s ready to go through a season and if we’re fortunate; a postseason.”
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