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BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - JANUARY 08: Kemba Walker #8 of the Boston Celtics points from the sideline during the game against the Washington Wizards at TD Garden on January 08, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

By Alex Barth, 985TheSportsHub.com

After a rough week dealing with postponed games and NBA COVID protocols, things are starting to trend in the right direction for the Boston Celtics. On Friday they won their fifth game in a row, extending their Eastern Conference-best record. Then on Saturday, one of their best players took a key step towards making his 2021 debut.

On the Celtics’ Saturday injury report, point guard Kemba Walker was listed as ‘questionable’ – the first time he’s been qualified as anything but ‘out’ this season. Walker has missed the first 11 games of the season rehabbing a left knee injury that lingered from last season’s bubble.

Speaking with 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher and Rich on Thursday, Celtics GM Danny Ainge mentioned that the team shutting down its facility last week threw off Walker’s timeline to return. “The challenge with Kemba is he really hasn’t played basketball,” Ainge mentioned. “With our inability to practice and do nothing but 1-on-0 workouts, it’s hard to get Kemba the reps he needs and the real basketball that he needs.”

In Walker’s absence the Celtics have turned to Marcus Smart as the starting point guard. In 10 games he’s the team’s third leading scorer at 12.4 points per game, with six assists, three rebounds, and 1.5 steals per game as well. Free agent signing Jeff Teague and rookie Payton Pritchard have stepped up as well.

The Celtics next scheduled game is Sunday at 1 p.m., when they host the Knicks at TD Garden. We’ll likely get an update on Walker’s status for that one at some point Sunday morning. With a rare two-day break between that game and Wednesday’s contest in Philadelphia, Walker could play and still get an extended rest without missing any action.

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Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at Alexander.Barth@bbgi.com.