Celtics

Celtics remain cautious with timetable for Kemba Walker's return

Celtics remain cautious with timetable for Kemba Walker's return

BOSTON -- Kemba Watch will continue for at least one more game with the four-time All-Star ruled out for the fifth consecutive game because of left knee soreness when the Celtics host the Houston Rockets on Saturday night. 

For years, Walker has been one of the most durable players in the NBA.

So to see him sidelined for multiple games is a bit jarring. 

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And while Celtics coach Brad Stevens offered a scenario that could have Walker back on the floor next week in Cleveland on Tuesday, the need for Boston to proceed cautiously when it comes to Walker’s health and return can not be overstated. 

The last thing the Celtics want or need is Walker hobbling into the playoffs at less than full strength; or even worse, unable to play, akin to what happened with Kevin Garnett in 2009 when he missed the final 25 games of the regular season and all of the playoffs, which ended for the Celtics with a second-round loss to Orlando. 

Being out with injury for an extended period of time is foreign terrain for Walker, who in his nine NBA seasons has had only one where he missed as many games as this season. 

That was in 2014-15 when he missed 20 games and had surgery to repair a torn meniscus to his left knee — the same knee that has him out now. 

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The Celtics have run a battery of tests of the injury to try and make sure that when he does return, this won’t be something that lingers.

Boston has played well without Walker (9-3), but don’t get it twisted. 

The Celtics know for them to have the kind of playoff run that they are hoping, Walker has to be at or close to full strength. 

For Walker, being part of a team that’s built beyond just his play, to fight for a second or third seed in the East and not just a spot in the playoffs, makes missing games a little easier to handle.

“I still don’t like it; no competitor would like missing games,” Walker told NBC Sports Boston. “I want to be out there with my brothers. But it’s good to know that if I can’t go, they can still play well, they can still win games.”

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Rockets-Celtics, which begins Saturday at 7:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live. You can also stream on the MyTeams App.

Who are the best point guards in Celtics history? Ranking the Top 10

Who are the best point guards in Celtics history? Ranking the Top 10

It's no surprise that the Boston Celtics, the team that has won more championships than any other — 17 — also has an incredible list of point guards that have taken the floor over the franchise's storied history.

Their most famous floor general, Bob Cousy, helped the Celtics to their first six titles, but some of the best point guards in team history have taken the floor more recently.

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Much more recently, in fact. Brad Stevens has only been Boston's head coach since 2013, but he has coached four different All-Star point guards in that time.

Some of the team's best point guards have even gone on to success in the Celtics front office and on the sidelines. 

So from Cooz to Kemba, DJ to Jo Jo, these are the best point guards in Celtics history.

Click here for Chris Forsberg's Top 10.

Why isn't Gordon Hayward participating in players' NBA 2K tournament?

Why isn't Gordon Hayward participating in players' NBA 2K tournament?

When a report surfaced Monday night that the NBA is launching an NBA 2K tournament pitting players against each other, Boston Celtics fans all had the same thought:

Gordon Hayward isn't just going to participate in this. He's going to dominate it.

The Celtics forward, after all, is probably the NBA's most avid video gamer, with his own sponsor (HyperX Gaming) and numerous blog posts about his love for gaming.

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But when ESPN's "The Boardroom" revealed the 16 players who will compete in the tournament Tuesday, Hayward was nowhere to be found.

What gives? Does No. 1 overall seed Kevin Durant have a vendetta against Hayward? Is Hayward too good to concern himself with these casual gamers?

In all likelihood, there's a simpler answer: Hayward doesn't really play 2K -- or any sports video game, for that matter.

Here's Hayward in a 2011 interview with ESPN:

"The one thing I've never been into are the sports games. I don't know, I just don't like playing those as much. I bought 'NBA 2K11' just to see myself. It was creepily similar and it's cool to say that you're in a video game, but I'm just not into it that much. I'm more into first-person shooters and real-time strategy games."

That's still the case today, apparently. Hayward lists seven "favorite games" on his HyperX Gaming page, and only one of them (FIFA) is sports-related: Fortnite, League of Legends, Overwatch, Hearthstone, FIFA, Destiny and Clash Royale.

In that context, it's obvious why Hayward wasn't one of the 16 competitors selected, especially considering how many other players are obsessed with 2K.

That said, we would have liked to see at least one Celtic make the cut here; after all, Kemba Walker and Jayson Tatum both starred in a trailer for NBA 2K20 last August.

The tournament kicks off this Friday on ESPN, giving sports fans at least something to watch (aside from "Classic Celtics," of course) while the NBA is on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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