Charlotte Hornets: Kemba Walker Set to Return Soon


Charlotte Hornets point guard Kemba Walker has been out recovering from knee surgery for quite a while now, but according the the Charlotte Observer and several other sources, he is close to a return.

While Walker has certainly been missed as the team’s best and most loved player, the Hornets have given themselves a new identity in his absence. Players like Brian Roberts and Cody Zeller were given opportunities to step up in games that they wouldn’t have otherwise gotten if Walker was still playing.

More from Swarm and Sting

Walker is a great player, and often steals the show because he was the Hornets’ best player. His high scoring  often overshadowed the success of other players.

Since his absence, the Hornets also picked up a new point guard, Mo Williams, who has been picking up the slack while Walker is gone. Williams has done more than pick up the slack, and averages over 23 points as a Hornet. But how long can he keep this up? With Walker coming back, they may have to share the spotlight.

Speaking to the Observer, Walker acknowledged the greatness of Mo Williams.

"“I’ve played against him for years, and he’s exciting to watch. Everybody loves him already.”"

In the session with the Observer, Walker explained that his run and shoot session in Chicago was the first since January. This is a positive for sure, but it doesn’t mean Walker is going to be ready to play this week, or maybe even the next. Walker says that he will be meeting with the surgeon who operated on him very soon to discuss just how much he can do and when he can get back on the court.

There’s no doubt all Hornet fans want to see Walker play, but should we be selfishly wanting him to play as soon as possible? Absolutely not. We’ve seen players like Derrick Rose come back from knee injuries and re-injure themselves very quickly. Walker can be described as the face of the organization, and losing him again would be tragic. He must be at full strength before he comes back, not almost full strength or simply close to 100%.

The wait is killing us, but imagine how Walker is feeling. This is really the first time he has had to sit out for a prolonged period of time. He’s had minor injuries in the past, but nothing this serious. He acknowledged that it has been difficult for him. Walker said about his teammates, “They’re my guys. I still want to be into the game.”

The point guard describes the feeling of sitting out and having to watch his teammates as, “miserable.”

As Walker nears return, a lot of questions remained unanswered. What will Mo Williams’ status at point guard be? He likely won’t get the start over a healthy Walker, despite his veteran status. He can still be a scoring force, but if he’s not getting as many minutes, he won’t score as much.

They could use Williams in the shooting guard position to play both him and Walker, but Williams is primarily a point guard. The use of him in that position is not guaranteed to work.

Even more uncertain is the future of the other point guard, Brian Roberts. Roberts was the backup when Kemba was healthy, and if Williams sticks around after Kemba’s return, Roberts will likely not see the court near as much as he used to.

Though Walker’s return is a huge positive for the Hornets, they aren’t necessarily playing bad without him. They’ve taken down some big teams in their time without him, like the Washington Wizards and the Chicago Bulls. Their new identity without him may take some time to adjust as he eases his way back into games.

As they head into the final stretch of the season, concerns may rise if the team’s chemistry is compromised while they figure out how to work Walker back into this “new” team. It does look like Walker is staying as involved as he can with his teammates now though, which will definitely help the team.

Walker has told the Observer about his seating preference: right on the team bench. While other injured guys take a second row seat, Walker prefers to sit with his team and be as close to the game as possible. He’s been attentive in his time off, too, making sure he watches the point guards and thinking about what he would do differently in their shoes.

Walker will be accepted back into the team with open arms by both teammates and fans. It will be exciting to see what he can do as they push towards the playoffs.

Next: Who Had the Best February Game?

More from Swarm and Sting