Boston Celtics point guard Kemba Walker is doubtful to suit up when his team faces the Sacramento Kings on Monday, as he continues his recovery from a neck sprain.
The ninth-year veteran is averaging 21.1 points, 4.7 assists and 4.6 rebounds per match in his first campaing with the team.
Walker suffered a scary injury on Friday, Nov. 22, when his head collided with teammate Semi Ojeleye’s torso while going for a steal versus the Denver Nuggets.
He was stretchered off the court and diagnosed with concussion-like symptoms postgame. Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said postgame that all of Walker’s scans came back with “positive results.”
The ex-UConn star missed just four or more games twice in his career until the 2019-20 season. A torn lateral meniscus kept him off the court for six weeks in 2015.
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Marcus Smart should move from shooting guard to point guard in Walker’s absence.
The six-year veteran out of Oklahoma State is posting 12.3 points, five assists and 3.5 rebounds per night. He won’t provide the scoring prowess that Walker brings on a nightly basis, as Smart shoots just 38.1 percent from the field. But he’s a tenacious and scrappy defender and more than capable of efficiently running the offense.
Expect Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum to take a large usage and scoring load in Walker’s absence aswell. Gordon Hayward is still out with a broken left hand suffered in November.
Off the bench, Carsen Edwards should see more action. Ultimately, the C’s need Walker back as soon as possible. Boston jumped out to a 10-1 start with him running the point in year one in Celtics green, good enough to provide visions of the team perhaps fulfilling its expectations of making the NBA Finals in 2018-19 before a disappointing second-round exit. Without Walker, that will be a hard task.