The time Kemba Walker has missed this season hasn’t been ideal.
But if he plays like he has been for the Boston Celtics of late, as the team pushes to pull off a good playoff seed and make a run, it might all be worth it.
“I felt good. I felt really good, actually,” Walker said after the Celtics’ 132-96 win over the Orlando Magic, in which he tied a season-high 32 points while shooting 6-of-9 from 3-point range. The point guard also had four assists, three rebounds and one steal.
“I guess, yeah, I haven’t been playing so, yeah I was able to get some rest. I was a little fresh today. It definitely sounds good. I’ll definitely take it, for sure.”
Walker missed four-straight games with a left oblique strain, not to be confused with the knee ailment that Celtics slowly have been working the 30-year-old back from all season.
But based on what we’re seeing, the medical staff’s plan has been effective.
“The plan has been terrific for him,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said after the game. “And, you know obviously I think that he has benefited greatly from his own hard work. The plan that our medical staff put together with him, but his execution of it is the key to it. To strengthening that knee, having those extra nights off, you know, we’re all part of trying to feel great towards the end of the season. It’s been challenging, we’d known he was going to miss the second night of back-to-backs. The other stuff has been challenging going through the year, but he’s done a good job with this and, you know, he looks good.”
Wednesday’s win was just another bullet point of evidence that Walker plays well on extended rest or after sitting in the second game of a back-to-back, which is how the team has managed him all season.
But if there’s a time to look like your old self again, it’s now.