Boston Celtics All-Star point guard Kemba Walker is still ramping up his practice activity but, according to teammate Enes Kanter, he’s been extremely vocal about what the Celtics can accomplish at the NBA’s Orlando restart.
"Actually, we had a [team] meeting and, in the middle of the meeting, [Walker] stepped up and said, ‘Listen, man, we have something really special in this locker room. We are like brothers. So let’s just go out there, let’s compete, have fun, and win this championship. Let's show the whole world that we can do it,’” Kanter said Wednesday from inside the bubble on “The Enes Kanter Show” podcast.
"Everybody was so gassed up like, ‘OK, let’s go.’”
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Kanter hinted it might not be a coincidence that the Celtics produced what Kanter dubbed the best practice of his nine-year career right around the time of Walker’s statement. Kanter said that Walker has been particularly vocal, even while limited in practice activities while strengthening a sore knee, and said that, when Walker speaks up like that, teammates take notice.
"Kemba, he lets his game talk. That’s like the best way to put it,” said Kanter. "But when he comes out and says, 'OK, hey, we have something very special in our locker room, let’s go out there and show the whole world that we have enough in our locker room to win the whole thing,’ that will for sure get you going, get you excited, gets you like, ‘OK, let’s do this.’”
The Celtics have treaded carefully with Walker after he experienced pain in his left knee after resuming individual workouts in Boston last month. But, this week, he’s engaged in most non-live work, including an hour of practice activity on Tuesday. The team was scheduled to reevaluate him on Wednesday’s offday with hope that he might engage in 5-on-5 work as early as Thursday’s practice.
Kanter consistently said in previous weeks that Celtics fans shouldn’t worry about Walker’s health.
"I was never worried about Kemba, man. He's one of those players that, like, it doesn’t matter how much you take off. When you come back, you still got it,” said Kanter. "And I hate that. Me, I have to work … this dude just comes in, right, starts making those 3s. He makes it look like he never took any days off.
"And I hate that. I had to work five to six weeks to get in game shape. I never worry about Kemba. I know he’s going to come in and do everything he can to get healthy for this team. … He's definitely very excited about [the playoff potential]. He wants to go out there, win, and compete with his team.”