Fresh off his first career All-Star appearance, Kemba Walker needed to undergo a “minor” procedure on his left knee—code for surgery of some sort.
Here’s the announcement the Charlotte Hornets dropped on Wednesday:
The Charlotte Hornets announced today that guard Kemba Walker underwent a successful minor arthroscopic procedure on his left knee. Typical recovery time for Walker’s procedure is approximately six weeks.
In his sixth season in Charlotte, Walker appeared in 79 games averaging a career-high 23.2 points, 5.5 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 1.1 steals in 34.7 minutes per game. Walker was named to 2017 Eastern Conference All-Star team, the first NBA All-Star appearance of his six-year career. The University of Connecticut product has appeared in 443 career games (398 starts) for Charlotte averaging 18.4 points, 5.4 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 1.4 steals in 33.9 minutes per game. Walker was selected by Charlotte with the ninth overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft.
Arthroscopic procedures are hardly considered dire these days. But this is the third time Walker has needed something done to his left knee.
Back in January of 2015, he needed surgery to repair a torn meniscus. Then, in May of 2016, he went under the knife to address the same problem.
And now, this, on the same knee.
Walker, at 27, is still young enough that his recovery won’t be an issue. And he’s on one of the best contracts in the league, so even if his left knee causes long-term problems, his performance won’t be completely detrimental to the books.
But Walker is the lifeblood of the Hornets offense. They could barely function without him on the floor last season. They don’t have a capable backup to spell him right now, and Nicolas Batum’s 2016-17 campaign leaves little room for confidence.
Charlotte can only hope this is an otherwise meaningless offseason blip. Walker will be ready for the regular season, and again, the term “minor” matters here. But so, too, does the frequency with which this All-Star point guard has needed left knee procedures.