Kemba Walker has been known as an ironman throughout his career, and that’s why, when a left knee issue flared up during Thursday’s win over Golden State, the Celtics training staff didn’t need more reason to take action.

Walker, better than anyone, understands that after eight-plus seasons of high game and minutes counts, there’s going to be wear and tear, even if he expects to return soon from this current flare-up.

The Celtics guard was held out of Saturday night’s game against Philadelphia and will also miss Monday’s game in Atlanta. He’ll then be reevaluated.

It’s not the first time he’s experienced knee soreness this season.

“I don’t know. Just sore. A lot of basketball. I played a lot of basketball from summertime to now,” he said. “Just a lot of games, I mean, it’s just what happens throughout the course of an NBA season.

“It’s tough. I’m a competitor. I love to play, especially against teams like Philly who are a great team,” said Walker. “So it’s definitely a tough decision for me to sit this one out. But at the end of the day, I just have to look at the long haul. We’re looking to get to the playoffs and make a run, so I’ve got to look at it that way.

“Just got to take care of myself, which I’ve been doing to the best of my ability. But I’ve got to continue to do it. That’s really it.”

Asked if he still intended to play in the All-Star game, Walker said, “Yeah, I’ll be back. I’ll be back before that.”

Coach Brad Stevens, focused on the short term, said it’s too early to know if Walker will be able to play Wednesday against Orlando.

“Most likely at minimum the next two games, maybe, and then we’ll reevaluate it after that,” said Stevens before Saturday’s game. “But his knee flared up on Thursday, same knee that he had been dealing with earlier in the year. He was very sore yesterday. He tried to give it a go today, but he’s not playing.

“I don’t know what they’ve officially labeled it as, but it’s been ongoing all year. And he missed, I think, a game earlier this month for it. But it flared up. You could tell he didn’t have his normal burst the other day. I don’t think it’s anything that we think is a long, long term thing by any means, but we certainly may have to manage it.”

Walker played all 82 games last season for the second time in his career, and has played 80 or more four times. He’s now missed six games this season.

WHEN ENES KANTER attempted to run through a drill early last week, the Celtics center more hobbled than sprinted. As such, he missed his fifth game Saturday night because of a bruised hip.

“I think he’s pretty close,” said Stevens. “But I thought the other day when I saw him moving, it was probably unlikely. Today he looked a little bit better, but still out.”

BEN SIMMONS, Philadelphia’s all-star point guard, is known for his subpar shooting. But according to Stevens, Simmons has found a way to make his weakness insignificant.

“First of all, he’s an outstanding player, and while everybody focuses on the shooting, he does everything else at an elite level,” said Stevens. “And he’s great in understanding what he does best. When he gets it and somebody’s not guarding him, he’ll do a hard drive and a spin, and you can’t stop him because he gets up a head of steam. Or he goes into a hand-off for a shooter and you’re not there to help because you’re back.

“He’s managed the one thing everybody talks about and makes his team better. That’s why he’s so good. Good defender, great at understanding the game, puts a lot of heat on you both as a screener, a roller and a driver, because he can catch and pass or catch and finish,” he said. “I don’t really think it matters. There’s enough guys that can shoot the ball. If he can find them, I guess he’s a two-time all-star already at age whatever. Pretty damn good.”

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