Kemba Walker cleared to return to practice with Boston Celtics, ‘not too far’ from return

The Boston Celtics announced today that Kemba Walker has been cleared to return to practice.

Walker has missed the entire season to this point as he works to strengthen his left knee. Brad Stevens says it won’t be long before he returns.

“I think the next progression for him is to get out there on the court with the other guys on the team,” Stevens said before the game against the Washington Wizards. “He’s been out there with the coaching staff. He’s been out there, both in one-on-one workouts, but also in doing his reads, and four-on-four, and five-on-five stuff. But the next step now is to play some live in practice, some live with our guys I don’t think he’s too fa. He looks great. He feels great.”

Stevens says Walker has been pain free since the camp began, and they’re encouraged by the progress he’s made in the program.

“I’m sure he’ll be back here in the near future, but we’re gonna still progress through the next steps of workouts and practice and those types of things,” Stevens said. “Hopefully, he’ll be back soon but we’re not going to rush that.  We’ll see how the practice goes and all that other stuff.”

Walker has been dealing with the left knee issues since last season. Those issues were exacerbated by his participation in the All-Star game, after which he was forced to get his knee drained and miss significant time.

The team put Walker through another strengthening program after the COVID-19 hiatus and entry into the bubble, but that program may not have been enough to handle the run-up to the playoffs.

“Maybe we didn’t do him justice by bringing him back too fast in the bubble,” Danny Ainge said during the preseason. “We don’t want to make that mistake if it was a mistake this time. I’m not blaming anybody. But it’s not a perfect science. It’s guesswork, and we’re trying to do the bet with the information that we have and get him as strong and healthy as he can be, so he can make it through the year.”