NESN Diary: Hoping Kemba Walker’s Knee Won’t Be Latest To Shatter Celtics’ Title Hopes (And Other Random Thoughts)

Please don’t let this Kemba Walker situation be anything like Kevin Garnett.

Or Kendrick Perkins.

Or Isaiah Thomas.

Or Gordon Hayward.

Or Kyrie Irving.

Certainly, that’s how many Boston Celtics fans must be thinking, right?

We’ve been here before — another Celtics team talented enough to win an NBA Championship only to have a key piece impacted by injury and those dreams shattered.

The thought comes to mind after Walker did not practice Wednesday due to going through a hard workout Tuesday, according to Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. Stevens, according to the team, remained positive saying, “He’s reacting great… Every indication is that he’ll be available when we’re playing games.”

We’re trying to stay positive, too.

But then reality slips in. And if the reality is that Walker was in a bit of “discomfort,” like Stevens said Monday following the guard’s individual workout, it’s cause for concern.

After all, players have been off for four months due to the coronavirus pandemic. They should be healthier than they usually are entering the playoffs. Admittedly, Walker said that was the case for him two weeks ago. He said the break got him more comfortable with his knee.

Hope so.

I mean, it’s pretty obvious that Walker’s knee(s) are what he relies on the most. The veteran point guard has had success in the league due to his explosiveness, due to his ability to lose defenders and create space off the dribble and due to his ability to finish through traffic in the paint, despite being a bit undersized. Essentially, he’s had his success due to his knee(s).

Could the Celtics really be keeping him on a strict pitch count because they don’t need him until playoffs begin? Yes, of course. And who could blame them? Heck, Stevens and the organization could look like geniuses if a healthy Walker is able to lead Boston on a playoff run without missing any time.

Let’s try and keep that in the front of our mind, Celtics fans. Because we certainly don’t want to think about how injuries have impacted the C’s title aspirations in the past.

Here are some other random thoughts from the day in sports:

— Congrats to Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy.

Cassidy on Wednesday was named one of the finalists for the NHL’s Jack Adams Award, given to the coach “who has contributed the most to his team’s success.”

Columbus Blue Jackets head coach Joh Tortorella and Philadelphia Flyers’ Alain Vigneault joined Cassidy as the other two finalists. It’s the second time in three seasons Cassidy has earned the recognition.

Here’s to hoping it comes back to Boston, Bruce. (Along with something else.)

— New England Patriots left guard Joe Thuney will play out the 2020 season on a one-year, full guaranteed deal worth just shy of $15 million.

Not bad for the second-team All-Pro who earned less than $4 million during his previous four seasons combined. It comes after the Patriots and Thuney couldn’t come to an agreement on a long-term deal before the NFL’s franchise tag deadline Wednesday afternoon.

Here’s what that ultimately means for the Patriots.

Thuney was one of 12 players from around the NFL to not agree to a long-term contract. Other players included Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, Cincinatti Bengals receiver A.J. Green and a handful of defensive players.

— Boston Red Sox outfielder Alex Verdugo will carry some high expectations entering the 2020 campaign.

Verdugo, who was acquired in the trade that sent Mookie Betts and David Price to Los Angeles, was named the Red Sox’s “Biggest 2020 Addition” by one MLB writer.

And it wasn’t the only Red Sox-related news to come out Wednesday as rumors surfaced about the club signing pitcher Zack Godley. Here’s why he would make sense for the Sox, who are in dire need of starting pitching.

Tweet of the Day

A big group of Patriots players got together Wednesday including quarterback Jarrett Stidham, receiver Mohamed Sanu and others.

Video of the Day

Pasta doing Pasta things.

Stat of the Day

I’m in the camp that Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard is underrated. This statistic helps prove my point.

More NBA: Predicting Playoff Seeding Ahead Of League’s Return To Play

Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images