“I never missed a game in my life. First time,” Walker said of the left ankle sprain that will cost him about two weeks of the season.
Growing up in New York City, then on to Connecticut for college and Charlotte for the NBA, Walker has always prided himself on physical toughness, sometimes to his own detriment. Coach Steve Clifford thought maybe Walker should have missed a game or two after injuring his shoulder earlier this season.
Walker wouldn’t hear of it.
He went 190 NBA games before an injury was severe enough to sit him down. Walker rolled his ankle in Saturday’s loss to the Miami Heat. A replay of the play showed the ball of his joint nearly touching the floor before he fell along the baseline.
“My parents were at work sick, when they didn’t feel like it – through rain, sleet and snow,” Walker recalled. “I get my toughness from them. If I can play, I’m going to play. I probably would have played on this ankle, but I just couldn’t. I definitely pride myself on my toughness.”