BOSTON — Celtics guard Kemba Walker wasn’t seriously injured during a scary collision with a teammate last week that led to him being taken from the court on a stretcher, Boston’s team doctor said Monday, but Walker will be kept out of the lineup until he goes through a full practice.
Walker was on the bench for Monday night’s game against the Sacramento Kings, the team’s first game since the injury.
Walker collided with teammate Semi Ojeleye’s abdominal area head-first and went down to the court in a heap against the Denver Nuggets on Friday night.
A brace was placed around his neck and he was strapped to a backboard before being placed onto a gurney and wheeled off the court.
“It looked like it was going to be a very serious injury, but thankfully it turned out not to be a very serious injury,” team physician Dr. Tony Schena told reporters Monday.
Schena said Walker had “numbness and tingling in his hands” immediately after the collision, which is why trainers were so cautious with him.
Walker had X-rays at the arena Friday night that came back negative, and more imaging tests were done at a trauma center that also showed no major injuries, Schena said.
Walker flew home with Saturday wearing a soft neck brace. Schena said he had the spinal X-ray reviewed after Walker arrived and it showed “no symptoms” and Walker was “feeling very well.”
The medical staff decided that even though he had “no concussion symptoms, he went through protocol anyway,” Schena said.
The physician said Walker went through a “full cognitive review” Saturday and Sunday. He said Walker “passed the cognitive test and also had a light workout and passed it again after that.” The team sent him to a specialist at a hospital that’s not affiliated directly with the team for another spinal exam, and reviews of the X-rays and concussion test.
Walker is expected to go through a full workout on Tuesday.
“He feels well, no symptoms,” Schena said. “[We’ll] get him to a full practice and progress from there.”
Walker is averaging a team-leading 21.1 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 4.7 assists in his first season with Boston.
Earlier this month, the Celtics lost Gordon Hayward to a fractured left hand. He suffered the injury when he collided with LaMarcus Aldridge in a Nov. 9 game against San Antonio.
The Celtics beat the Kings 103-102 in Boston on Monday night. Boston hosts the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night before traveling to Brooklyn for a game at noon Friday.