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Kemba Walker to miss start of 2020-21 season and other Celtics injury updates

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Walker is in the midst of a 12-week strengthening program for his left knee

Boston Celtics v Miami Heat - Game Six Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Before training camp gets started this week, the Boston Celtics issued a series of injury updates. Those updates were a mixed-bag in terms of surprise and severity.

Kemba Walker is going to miss at least the start of the season, as he works through a 12-week strengthening program for his left knee. After consulting with multiple specialists in early October, Walker underwent a stem cell injection in the knee. He’s expected to return to on-court activities in early December. An update on his return to play will be provided in the first week of January.

Second-year wing Romeo Langford continues to recover from late September ligament surgery in his right wrist. Langford’s initial return to play was projected to be four-to-five months after surgery, and the Celtics say he’s progressing as planned.

Newly-acquired big man Tristan Thompson is suffering from a minor hamstring strain. His availability early in camp will be limited.

Without Walker for at least the season’s first couple of weeks, and likely a bit longer, Boston will rely heavily on Marcus Smart as the team’s primary ballhandler. Danny Ainge also commented that this opens up additional opportunities for freshly-signed point guard Jeff Teague and 2020 draftee Payton Pritchard as well. The Celtics also have Tremont Waters returning to the team on a Two-Way deal at the ballhandler position.

Langford was expected to miss time to open this year, and this update confirms he’s likely to miss the first half of the season. Langford being out should open the door for rookie wing Aaron Nesmith to make an impact.

Thompson’s injury sounds like it is of little concern moving forward. He’ll probably be limited during the initial week or so of camp, and could be out for the team’s two preseason games.