Bill Walton's Final Months as a Boston Celtic
In case anyone needed reminding that when dealing with Bill Walton, nothing is ever certain, it came yesterday.
Walton could not practice. Moreover, he says it's "very doubtful" he will play tonight when the Celtics meet the Cleveland Cavaliers in Hartford Civic Center (7:30, SportsChannel).
"I developed a little soreness in my (right) ankle during Saturday's practice," Walton reported. "The soreness persisted yesterday, and I can't play today. I've got to slow down a little bit and get this situation under control."
Walton played a so-so nine minutes on Sunday, throwing in a hook and a pick-and-roll layup, blocking one shot and grabbing two rebounds. But he wasn't what you would call forceful.
"It's both restrictive and painful," Walton explained. "I'm having acute pain and limited range of motion. It hurts more with some motions than others.
As suspected, Bill Walton did not suit up for last night's game in order to give his sore right ankle a rest. Walton said he also will sit out today's practice "unless I feel remarkably better than today. "But I probably will take the day off," Walton added. "We'll just have to wait and see what tomorrow brings."
Still, the Celtics' oft-injured center, who missed the first 61 games of the season, said he expects to make the road trip to Washington tomorrow and Chicago Friday.
Walton said his ankle problem flared up after practice Saturday.
"One of the joints in the ankle is sore," he said. "I banged it up in practice on Saturday, and it bothered me throughout the game on Sunday in the little time I did play."
In the Celtics' 116-104 victory over Nets Sunday, Walton logged nine minutes and scored 4 points (2 for 2 from the field), had 2 rebounds and 1 blocked shot.
"Knowing my feet the way I do," Walton said with a smile, "I know it's time to sit down and let it get better."
There is no need for panic, folks. For those of you who believe this may be last you'll see of Bill Walton , it isn't.
He'll be back, but not for tonight's game in Landover, Md., against the Bullets (7:30, Channel 56).
Walton will stay home, missing tonight's game and tomorrow's in Chicago in order to rest his sore right ankle. It is hoped the extra two-day hiatus will enable Walton to get back on his feet and back in a Celtics uniform.
K.C. Jones' team has played the last three games without Bill Walton, whose right ankle developed a new problem last weekend.
"I'm questionable," said Walton. "Maybe I can go. I wasn't able to work out today, but it is better. I'll see how it feels when I get to the Garden on Sunday. The whole thing is still day-to-day."
Bill Walton, when asked whether he was a yes, no or maybe prior to the game, replied, "Somewhere between a no and a maybe."
Well, the no prevailed. He missed his sixth straight game with his new ankle injury. There are only eight games left in the regular season, but K.C. Jones says he isn't concerned about Walton. "I feel bad for him," Jones said, "but concerned? No. I can't worry about injuries. I just deal with what we've got."
Bill Walton still day-to-day. Walton has missed six games after playing in seven straight. "Everyone has to be patient, Bill above all," said team physician Thomas Silva. "We've still got more than two weeks before the playoffs."
Danny Ainge and Bill Walton stayed behind, the former with flu symptoms and the latter with his bad ankle. The days are dwindling to a precious few for the Big Redhead. He's now missed the last eight games, and logic doesn't favor the supposition that there is enough time for him to get into shape and regain his timing in order to be a viable playoff contributor.
Injuries are catching up the the Celtics. Last year's Celtics team was unaffected. The difference is that last year the Celtics had more professional substitutes. For example, Parish missed two games last season, one at home against Washington and one in Milwaukee. Bill Walton had 20 points, 12 rebounds and 4 assists against Washington and 22 points, 12 rebounds and 5 assists against Milwaukee. The Celtics won each game easily.
Not to pick on him, because he tries so hard and all that, but if your sixth man is Greg Kite, you are in very bad shape. The team, which has won 55 and lost 22, is 11-12 in games in which he has been the first man off the bench. More important, they are 3-11 in road games in which he has been the first man off the bench. He is not responsible for those losses, of course.
The simple fact is that he cannot help them one whit when they are on offense, other than setting a pick here and there. And since the referees treat him the way the KGB would regard a Soviet defector, he is a liability on defense as well.
That's one problem, and without Walton, it is insoluble.