Celtics' Kemba Walker's Neck Injury Diagnosed as Sprain; Doubtful vs. Kings

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorNovember 24, 2019

SACRAMENTO, CA - NOVEMBER 17: Kemba Walker #8 of the Boston Celtics looks on during the game against the Sacramento Kings on November 17, 2019 at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
Rocky Widner/Getty Images

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.

ESPN's Tim Bontemps reported the news on Sunday:

The ninth-year veteran is averaging 21.1 points, 4.7 assists and 4.6 rebounds per game in his first season 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 against 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.

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 38.1Β 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 assume a large usage and scoring load in Walker's absence well. Gordon Hayward is still out with a broken left hand suffered in November.

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Off the bench, Carsen Edwards should see more action.

The superstar scorer at Purdue has not fared as well in the pros, shooting just 33.3 percent from the field for his 4.6 points per game. But the rookie was a dynamite offensive player in college and may just need a bit more time for everything to coalesce at the pro level.

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.Β Without Walker, that will be a tough task.