Boston Celtics

Jan 3, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens signals to his team during the fourth quarter against the Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

By Alex Barth,

Following an historically bad offensive performance in their last outing, all eyes are on the Celtics two top scorers working their way back to regular minutes. Ahead of Wednesday’s matchup against the Philadelphia 76ers, head coach Brad Stevens had updates on both Kemba Walker and Jayson Tatum.

While joining 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Zolak & Bertrand, Stevens was asked about Walker, who made his season debut on Sunday. “He’s doing great. He had a great practice yesterday. I thought he was moving well,” Stevens said.

Walker was working his way back from a lingering knee injury he suffered last season. In addition, he left Sunday’s game in the third quarter after a collision with Nerlens Noel. “as far as like physically moving, you know, flying around, you know, I thought he looked really good and we thought he would,” Stevens noted.

Leading up to his return there was speculation that, given the condensed schedule, Walker initially wouldn’t play in consecutive games as a form of load management. However, with a rare two-day break between games, Stevens may have hinted Walker could be on the floor Wednesday night in Philly.

I just think we like to compete with these teams that we ultimately are going to have to compete with, including the team tonight, like we need Kemba Walker to be Kemba Walker,” he told Zolak & Bertrand.

Jan 17, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics guard Kemba Walker (8) drives to the basket against the New York Knicks in the second quarter at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Stevens was also asked about Jayson Tatum, who tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month and has already been ruled out for Wednesday’s game. He said Tatum was able to go through tests on Wednesday, and “spend some time on the court in Boston” while the team was on their way to Philadelphia.

“I think that there would be a chance that he would join us for Friday [the Celtics’ next game], but then there’s also – I would say at best that’s 50/50,” Stevens told Zolak & Bertrand. He also added that, like Walker and Robert Williams (who also missed games due to COVID), there will likely be a ramp up period when Tatum does eventually return.

“He hasn’t done anything for two weeks,” Stevens explained. “We’re not allowed to have him do anything and he’s not supposed to do anything active…I don’t think it’s prudent to play a guy several games in a row for 35 minutes a game if he’s been inactive for a couple of weeks.”

You can hear the full interview with Brad Stevens below:

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Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 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