The surging Charlotte Hornets are getting Kemba Walker back just in time to make a final push before the playoffs. In an interview following a workout with his teammates earlier today, the diminutive point guard said he’s returning to the lineup for Wednesday’s game versus the Sacramento Kings.
“I’ll be out there playing tomorrow night against the Kings,” he told Matt Rochinski of Hornets.com.
The 24 year-old also said that he felt no ill-effects from late January’s surgery to repair a torn meniscus, insisting that finding his wind will be the only hurdle gleaned from his six-week absence.
Walker was originally sidelined for good on January 23 and diagnosed with the injury shortly thereafter. The Hornets have gone 10-8 since then, winning six of their past eight games.
Steve Clifford’s team has regained the defensive acumen that was a hallmark of its surprising run to the postseason last year. Charlotte boasts a 97.4 defensive rating in its past 18 games, a mark that would rank second in basketball if extrapolated over the full season. But the Hornets have been similarly dormant on the other end, and that’s where Walker’s dose of playmaking and shot-creating prowess will prove extremely useful.
Charlotte is currently eighth-place in the Eastern Conference at 28-34, but has the same record as the seventh-place Indiana Pacers. It leads the Miami Heat by a half game in the standings.
The Hornets and Kings tip-off from Time Warner Cable Arena tomorrow at 7:00 EST.