Charlotte Hornets point guard Kemba Walker said Thursday he’s fully healed, following May surgery on his left knee to repair a torn meniscus.
That means Walker is still considering playing in an NBA-sponsored exhibition in South Africa Saturday.
Walker has been in Johannesburg this week, as part of the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders effort. Walker and Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki were named captains for the World Team that will play a team of NBA players with ties to Africa at Ticketpro Dome (11 a.m. EDT on ESPN2).
Walker wasn’t expected to play, but he’s holding open the possibility of suiting up.
“I’m not sure yet. My knee feels good,” Walker said on a conference call. “I want to play. I can play. I haven’t made a decision yet.”
Walker said there is no limitation on his physical activity, following surgery in Charlotte May 9.
This is Walker’s first trip to Africa, and he called the experience eye-opening and perspective-changing. Walker went on a safari, which he described as “nothing short of amazing.”
Among the other NBA players who’ve traveled to South Africa: Toronto’s Serge Ibaka; Los Angeles Laker (and former Duke star) Luol Deng; and Orlando’s Bismack Biyombo, who was Walker’s teammate in Charlotte their first four NBA seasons.
Biyombo has urged Walker to visit Africa for years. The players traveled to a small village this week to help build 10 houses, and visited the apartheid museum.
“I’m just trying to get out of my comfort zone. I’m not a big traveler,” said Walker, who grew up in New York City. “It’s opened my eyes to traveling more.
“These are bucket-list kinds of trips.”
Walker, who received the NBA’s sportsmanship award for last season, said the conditions he’s seen in South Africa are a stark reminder how lucky he is.
“I told my mom I can never complain after this,” Walker said. “All the things I have.”
Walker was surprised and honored the NBA would ask him to serve as a captain for this event.
“I couldn’t believe it. Me?” Walker said. “We’ve got some big names here, and then there’s me alongside the legendary Dirk Nowitzki.”
Bonnell: 704-358-5129: @rick_bonnell