How he feels in the morning obviously is more important, but for now Kemba Walker is feeling pretty good.
Out of an abundance of caution, the Boston Celtics kept the star point guard on a minutes restriction in Friday night’s loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, and he’ll likely be limited throughout the seeding round. It’s all because of a knee injury that lingered most of the season, and though Walker has insisted that he’s fine, the team understandably refuses to take chances.
Thus, he played 19:08 Friday, checking out for the final time shortly after the midway point of the third period. And even though the Celtics were hanging around with the Bucks late in the game, Brad Stevens wasn’t even considering putting Walker back in, and though he wished he could play, Walker knew not to ask.
But in the time that he did log, he looked and felt good.
“Felt good, felt great,” Walker said. “I knew what I was coming into. I’ve just got to stay positive and just keep knowing that it’s all about the bigger picture. My minutes will gradually go up, game by game depending on how my knee reacts after every game. So I’m feeling good, looking forward to tomorrow’s practice and learning from my mistakes and then head back Sunday and play another one and be better.”
It was a productive night for Walker too, as he poured in 16 points on 5-for-9 shooting with two assists, a rebound and a block. His burst was there, and he certainly didn’t look like a guy playing on a minutes restriction because of his knee. And in terms of any reticent to play freely, Walker indicated he had none.
But both Marcus Smart and Brad Wanamaker played well off the bench, which will help take any pressure — what little bit of it there might’ve been — off Stevens to consider rushing Walker back a bit. Because of that, don’t expect to see the guard going full tilt through much of the seeding round.