Boston Celtics guard Kemba Walker was released from a Denver hospital late Friday after suffering a scary neck injury in a game against the Nuggets.
Walker lost his balance attempting to recover a steal late in the second quarter, and with his head down, he ran headfirst into the stomach of teammate Semi Ojeleye. He instantly recoiled and fell to the floor in pain, where he remained until play was stopped.
Medical staff then stabilized Walker’s head and neck before using a stretcher to take him off the floor.
Walker was transported to a local hospital with concussion-like symptoms. The Celtics later tweeted that Walker went through tests and returned to the team for its trip back to Boston. He will be re-evaluated on Saturday. Fortunately, the injury does not appear as serious as it seemed.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens initially said after the game that early tests on Walker “yielded good news.” He spoke with Walker before he left for the hospital at halftime of the game, too, and said that he was “in good spirits” and had his “wherewithal.”
“I thought it’s tough on both teams to see that, and it was good to get at least early reports of good news from our standpoint, but a head injury is super scary and so you’re always thinking about it,” Stevens said, via the Boston Globe. “You still have to play the last 27 minutes, which is not a fun part of it. But I thought our guys and Denver competed really hard the rest of the game.”
The 29-year-old signed a four-year, $141 million deal with the Celtics in free agency this summer. He is averaging 22.6 points, 4.9 rebounds and 4.8 assists so far this season, his ninth in the league. Walker had three assists and one rebound in 12 minutes on Friday night before the injury.
The Nuggets beat the Celtics 96-92, marking their fourth straight win behind a triple-double from Nikola Jokic, who finished with 18 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists. Jaylen Brown led the Celtics with 22 points and 10 rebounds, and Jason Tatum added 16 points.
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