Boston Celtics all-star point guard Kemba Walker is out until at least January — and likely longer — as he recovers from a stem cell injection in his left knee in early October that has sidelined him all season, coach Brad Stevens said on Tuesday.
“I think we’ll have more of a big picture update here in the next week sometime, as we thought, right around the turn of the new year,” Stevens said. “He won’t be back any time soon, certainly, you know we’re hopeful to get him back as soon as possible but we want to make sure when we do it’s for good. So I think that that’s the most critical thing from our standpoint.”
Boston is 1-2 without Walker, who averaged 20.4 points and 4.8 assists per game last season. The Celtics would be winless if Jayson Tatum didn’t bank-in a game-winning, step-back 3-pointer with four-tenths of a second remaining in a 122-121, season-opening win over the Milwaukee Bucks. The Celtics played at Indiana (3-0) on Tuesday.
“You can see how we miss him and you know, it’s funny when we go back and put together clips of things that maybe we haven’t covered or things that we’d like to do differently, he’s in all of them,” Stevens continued. “So we’ve got to figure out a way to be the best version of ourselves until he gets back and I think that starts with being a little better defensively and getting as good of shots as we can.”
Walker, a 10-year pro out of UConn who spent the first eight years of his career in Charlotte, signed a four-year, $141M maximum contract to join the Celtics as a free agent prior to the start of last season.
He’s averaged 19.9 points, 5.4 assists and 3.8 rebounds per game over his 661-game career.
He’ll likely be on a minutes restriction upon returning. He averaged 31.1 minutes a game last year.