Kemba Walker looks back on injury-plagued 2020-21 season: ‘I gotta get right’
After finishing his first season with the Boston Celtics with limited availability inside the Orlando bubble due to ongoing knee issues, Kemba Walker’s second season in Celtic green ended on an even worse note, as the guard was outright unavailable for the final two games of the team’s first-round series loss to the Brooklyn Nets.
This knee injury, which Walker claims is unrelated to the knee issues he’s battled since the start of the 2020 calendar year, came on what the 31-year-old called “an unfortunate incident” in the C’s Game 2 loss in Brooklyn.
But that didn’t make it any easier to swallow.
“I mean, wasn’t the greatest season for me personally,” Walker said following the Celtics’ season-ending loss to Brooklyn. “There’s definitely some things. I would like to play better, more consistently.”
The latter has certainly been a problem for Walker, too, as not even a complete season of an unwavering commitment to proper load management and rest-and-recovery could keep Walker’s knee together for when the Celtics needed him the most. This even after Walker’s own admission that he and the Celtics dealt with his knee ‘pretty good’ this season.
“It’s tough,” Walker said of his injury-plagued Boston tenure. “It’s been really tough especially because over the course of my career, I’ve played so many games when I’ve been healthy. I came to Boston to be a part of those special runs and be a part of high-intensity games and fans going wild, and I wasn’t able to be a part of that unfortunately.”
In action for three games this postseason, Walker averaged 12.7 and shot a career-worst 31.7 percent (including a beyond woeful 17.6 percent from beyond the arc), and once again failed to look like the Walker the Celtics saw in the regular season.
“I need time,” Walker said. “I just need a little bit of time to reflect and get myself back together.”
And Walker, who shot down the idea of repeatedly going through the rehab process he went through to get himself ready for the 2020-21 season, plans on using that time to get back to preparation that has eluded him throughout his Celtic tenure, be it because of his involvement for Team USA or a shortened offseason program centered around an accelerated rehab plan.
“I’m planning on having a big summer,” Walker said. “Get myself feeling good again. It’s been a while since I’ve really, really had time off. So this is really just an important time for me. I’m really gonna attack [my offseason].
“I gotta get right.”
Walker, who has a player option for 2022, has two years remaining on a four-year, $140 million contract signed in 2019.
Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.