NBA

Kemba Walker available for Celtics return on 20-minute restriction

By Sports Desk January 17, 2021

Kemba Walker is available to play for the first time this season and could feature for up to 20 minutes for the Boston Celtics against the New York Knicks.

Walker has not appeared since the Celtics' Eastern Conference Finals defeat to the Miami Heat in Orlando last year.

The former Charlotte Hornets point guard has been working on strengthening his left knee in an attempt to avoid any further lay-offs in the remainder of the campaign.

Knee soreness contributed to Walker missing 16 of Boston's 72 regular season games in 2019-20, his first year after leaving Charlotte, so the team are hoping to avoid a repeat.

Walker was listed as questionable this week for the first time all season and was then upgraded to available on Sunday ahead of the game at TD Garden at 1300 ET.

Coach Brad Stevens subsequently confirmed Walker would have a restriction of around 20 minutes.

The 8-3 Celtics are still without Jayson Tatum, among others, due to NBA health and safety protocols in the aftermath of the team's coronavirus crisis.

Boston had three consecutive games postponed and their practices cancelled - contributing to Walker's delayed return - before beating the Orlando Magic 124-97 on Friday.

Walker averaged 20.4 points per game last season, trailing only Tatum (23.4) for the Celtics, while also contributing 4.8 assists, behind just Marcus Smart (4.9).

The 30-year-old's scoring dropped slightly to 19.6 in the postseason - putting Tatum (25.7) and Jaylen Brown (21.8) ahead of him - but he led the team in playoff assists with 5.1 per game.

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