The 2020-21 NBA season hasn't even started yet, and Boston Celtics fans already have plenty to be concerned about.
All-Star guard Kemba Walker received a stem cell injection in his left knee in October and won't return until at least January. The 30-year-old was placed on a 12-week strengthening program.
This means newly-acquired guard Jeff Teague likely will take over as the starting point guard until Walker is ready to return. Given how careful the Celtics were with Walker's knee in the Orlando bubble last season, there's no telling when that could be.
So is it time for C's fans to panic? Chris Forsberg and Max Lederman discussed on a brand new episode of the Celtics Talk Podcast.
"It sucks. It really sucks. It's gotta be -- I'm gonna go 7 [on the panic meter]," Lederman said. "That may be too high, but I just think even long-term, Danny [Ainge] was talking today about the next year will speak a lot to [the severity]. Like, woah, the next year? We're talking about a thing we were hoping, you know, a couple weeks off to ease him into the season and it's fine.
"This is a lingering thing and it's unfortunate because he's the type of player that doesn't age well. He's a small guard. He's at the age where this is kind of where they hit the wall like running backs in the NFL."
Forsberg echoed Lederman's concern but added some cause for optimism.
"If it becomes an issue, if it does linger, then clearly there's something the Celtics have to ponder here because they're not quite the same team when Kemba's not healthy," Forsberg said. "And even if he is sort of the third option now behind Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, he's critical to what they're trying to do especially in a beefed up Eastern Conference.
"The flipside to this where I kind of bring myself back down to earth is he still averaged something like 20 points per game in the playoffs. ... More than anything, Kemba just has to make sure that he's not thinking about it and I think going to see all these specialists, getting the peace of mind will help."
Also discussed in the new episode: How much will the Celtics use their rookies at the start of the season? And reaction to Danny Ainge’s comments regarding Gordon Hayward’s departure.