Celtics point guard Kemba Walker said he felt some numbness in his fingers after his scary collision with Semi Ojeleye last Friday in Denver, but that he knew soon afterward that he would be fine.
Walker said that he could have gotten up and walked off on his own, but the team’s medical staff insisted that they err on the side of caution.
“[The numbness] went away pretty fast,” Walker said Wednesday, speaking before he hung a season-high 39 points on Brooklyn in a 121-110 victory. “I think that’s what got me the most nervous when I was on the ground. But yeah, it went away. They just wanted to make sure I was good, I was safe. So they kept me from moving and put me on a stretcher, obviously. But yeah like I said, thank God I’m OK and it wasn’t as bad as it looked.”
In the second quarter of Boston’s loss to the Nuggets, Walker crashed headfirst into Ojeleye’s midsection while chasing a loose ball. He instantly crumpled to the ground, and was eventually immobilized and taken away in a stretcher.
Walker said that he could have played against the Kings on Monday, and that he was a little sad to see his streak of 158 consecutive games played come to an end. But he understood.
“I just thought it was the best decision to at least take one game,” Walker said, “but we got the win and that’s all that counts. I got a chance to get a little bit of rest and watch my teammates play. It gave those guys another opportunity to grow, so it was really fun to be able to watch a game on TV and watch those guys play.”
Ojeleye, who was essentially standing still when Walker ran into him, still felt some remorse for his involvement. But Walker wanted to make him realize he did nothing wrong.
“Semi, he’s such a great dude,” Walker said. “I’m just glad to know [everything was fine]. He was pretty upset about it, but there’s nothing he could’ve done in that moment. It just kind of happened.”
Stevens stands up for Irving
Former Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving is still dealing with shoulder soreness and did not travel for Wednesday’s game, a return which had been one of the most highly anticipated games on the NBA calendar.
While fans were expected to fill the night with anti-Irving chants anyway, Celtics coach Brad Stevens, for one, defended his former point guard. He said he enjoyed coaching Irving, that he played great during his two years with the Celtics, and that he wishes him the best.
“The way that people talked about his time [in Boston], I mean, he was second team All-NBA last year,” Stevens said. “He was ridiculous the year before. He’s a heck of a player, and he gets to choose where he wants to go play. Gets to go home, I think that’s something that we all very much respect. And we wish him nothing but health and happiness.
“I just think this is the world we live in. I think that’s just part of it. I don’t particularly like it, even being in the seat where you’re getting too much praise is uncomfortable. But we’ve got to react to something and, unfortunately, we’re pretty reactionary.”
Celtics catch a break
The NBA said in its Last Two Minute report that Celtics guard Marcus Smart should have been called for a travel before hitting the game-winning basket with 31.1 seconds left in Boston’s 103-102 win over the Kings on Monday night.
The report stated that after Smart discontinued his dribble, he hopped twice on the same leg, which should have resulted in a travel.
The report also said that 0.3 seconds should have been put back on the clock after the Kings knocked the ball out of bounds on the final play, but Boston would have still had possession.
The 7-foot-5 center Tacko Fall suffered a bone bruise on his right knee in the Maine Red Claws game against the Memphis Hustle on Monday, and is expected to be reevaluated in 1-2 weeks.
Fall, a two-way contract player, is averaging 15 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 2.7 blocks per game for Maine this season.