Boston Celtics guard Kemba Walker played nearly 32 minutes in the All-Star Game last weekend at the United Center in Chicago.
That move, however, appears to have sidelined Walker for the near future.
Walker had his left knee drained and received an anti-inflammatory injection in the days that followed the game, and will miss Boston’s first game back from the break on Friday night, Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. His status for their game on Saturday against the Los Angeles Lakers is still uncertain.
“There’s no way he would have played our our medical staff would have [let him play in the All-Star Game] if they thought this was going to be possible after the break,” Stevens said, via the Boston Globe. “It’s just unfortunate.
“It probably would have happened at some point, clearly, but it’s unfortunate that it happened there. But this guy’s as good as it gets. I feel bad for him.”
Walker has averaged 21.8 points, five assists and 4.1 rebounds so far this season in Boston, his first with the team after spending his first eight years in the league in Charlotte. He has been dealing with lingering soreness in his knee for more than a month now, and missed four games in January because of it and had his minutes limited on several occasions since.
Stevens said Friday that they’ll likely have to restrict Walker’s minutes again this season, too, but knows how important the 29-year-old will be in their push during this final stretch of the year ahead of the postseason.
While they’d obviously love to have him playing now, Stevens doesn’t want to rush anything.
“Then we also have to just decide, kind of 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?” Stevens said, via the Boston Globe.
“I don’t know what the answer to that is. That’s where he and our medical staff have to put their heads together to come up with a plan. And then we’ll follow it.”
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