After consulting several medical specialists in early October, Walker received a stem cell injection in the knee and was put on a 12-week strengthening program. He is expected to return to on-court activities early this month but he won’t be ready to play when the season begins.
Walker was hampered by left knee soreness prior to the stoppage of play in March and it continued to affect him during the restart. GM Danny Ainge admitted that team’s prized free-agent acquisition in 2019 was “definitely not himself” during the playoffs.
Walker tried to gut it out and continued to play heavy minutes — he averaged 36.9 MPG in 17 postseason outings. He posted solid averages of 19.6 PPG and 5.1 APG during that span but his perimeter shooting suffered (31.0% from long range).
If Walker’s knee issues continues to linger, it could have a major impact on the team’s bottom line. He is due to make approximately $34.4M during the upcoming season and $36M in 2021-22. He has a $37.7M option for the 2022-23 season.
However, Ainge believes Walker’s won’t miss too much time, Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston tweets. Ainge talked about Walker on the Toucher and Rich radio show.
“I’m not worried about Kemba. He’ll be back,” Ainge said. “It’s an opportunity for Marcus (Smart), Jeff Teague, Payton Pritchard.”
Ainge feels the team has plenty of depth at that spot and doesn’t plan to pursue former Boston All-Star and current free agent Isaiah Thomas.
The press release also revealed that center Tristan Thompson suffered a minor hamstring strain during an offseason workout prior to arriving in Boston, and his availability during the first week of camp will be limited. Boston officially signed the former Cleveland big man on Monday.
Guard Romeo Langford‘s rehab from right wrist is going according to plan, the release adds. He underwent surgery on Sept. 22 to repair a torn scapholunate ligament in the wrist and the projected recovery time remains four to five months.