The Boston Celtics aren’t going to have Kemba Walker going full speed on Day 1 of training camp.
Walker, of course, has been dealing with knee issues for well over a year, which has prompted the Celtics to take a cautious approach with him pretty much since he signed with Boston.
And it appears it’ll remain that way with training camp just around the corner. That’s according to Brad Stevens, who revealed as much on CLNS Media’s Jeff Goodman and Bob Ryan Podcast.
“The key to this whole thing with him is just strengthening the knee. Just continuing to take this opportunity when we’re not playing, when we’re not practicing to really focus on that,” Stevens said, via WEEI.com. “Very similar to what we did at the beginning of the bubble. I think there’ll be a transition like that because of the shortened season, the shortened offseason. It’ll be some time before he’s going full speed for us for sure. …
“We haven’t settled on any timelines. This is more of a plan appropriately thing, so that he can play and play uninhibited as he moves forward, a lot like the bubble,” Stevens would also note. “The bubble was unique, because you went basically four months off, so there was a different challenge there in that ramping up was a big threat to everybody. But certainly if you had a situation like his, where if he goes too fast, too soon that probably wouldn’t have been good. Here it’s just too soon until the season. So I anticipate, again, we’ll be slow with him as the season starts, as practice starts.”
Even though the season is starting late, it’s still going to be 72 games and it’ll come with fewer off days. In other words, it makes sense the Celtics won’t be going full tilt with Walker right off the jump.
At the same time though, it should be at least a little discouraging that Boston can’t lean as heavily on its franchise point guard as it probably would want to. Then again, Walker’s knee issues likely were the impetus for signing a high-end backup guard in Jeff Teague, who undoubtedly is an upgrade over Brad Wanamaker.