Celtics' Kemba Walker Won't Play vs. Suns Because of Knee Injury

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJanuary 18, 2020

Boston Celtics guard Kemba Walker (8) in the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Nov. 22, 2019, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

The Boston Celtics announced that point guard Kemba Walker is out for his team's home game against the Phoenix Suns on Saturday with left knee soreness.

Head coach Brad Stevens provided a positive pregame update on Walker's long-term prognosis:

Boston Celtics @celtics

#NEBHInjuryReport Kemba Walker got an MRI on his sore knee that came back clean. He will not be able to play tonight and Coach Stevens says he doesn’t get the impression that this will be a long-term injury.

Walker already dealt with concussion-like symptoms and a sprained neck earlier in the season but had been durable entering the 2019-20 campaign. He appeared in at least 79 games in each of his last four seasons as a member of the Charlotte Hornets.

The UConn product signed with Boston as a free agent this past offseason and has responded by averaging 22.1 points, 4.9 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game behind 44.2 percent shooting from the field and 38.8 percent shooting from deep. He averaged a career-best 25.6 points a night last season.

While Walker is a three-time All-Star who naturally slid into the playmaking point guard role vacated by Kyrie Irving when the latter joined the Brooklyn Nets, Boston does have other pieces to keep the backcourt afloat while its leader is sidelined.

The short-handed Celtics, who are already without Jaylen Brown on Saturday because of a sprained left thumb, could use Marcus Smart in more of a ball-handling role.

Jayson Tatum and Gordon Hayward will remain as go-to options on the wing. The Celtics also have Brad Wanamaker and Javonte Green for depth purposes in the backcourt.


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