Boston Celtics Get Some Good News After Robert Williams Surgery
The Boston Celtics look to bounce back after suffering their first loss in two weeks when they fell in overtime to the Toronto Raptors on Monday. The Celtics continued to play well, but they had four starters missing in that game and saw their six-game win streak end.
Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown didn’t play. Boston’s big men, Al Horford and Robert Williams, also were sidelined. Williams injured his knee the night before during a win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Williams tore his meniscus and had surgery Tuesday. The report on Williams’ return was about as good as it could be for the Celtics.
The Boston Celtics must push for playoff seeding without Robert Williams
Williams has come into his own this season for the Celtics. An athletically-gifted center, he plays much bigger than his 6-foot-8 frame. Through 61 games, he’s averaging a near double-double with 10.0 points and 9.6 rebounds.
Williams is a game-changer on defense with his shot-blocking ability and rebounding. Now, the Celtics have to adjust their game for the rest of the regular season as they will be without him for their remaining six contests.
He injured himself against Minnesota but had no idea how or when it happened.
“He said it wasn’t even a specific play that he remembers,” Celtics first-year coach Ime Udoka said after the win, per Yahoo Sports, “but (he) came out of the game … obviously went back to get checked out and was in quite a bit of pain.”
Williams’ presence in the middle gives the Celtics a dimension they haven’t had in quite some time. He’s a feared shot-blocker who has himself right in the thick of the Defensive Player of the Year race.
With six games remaining, the Celtics are third in the Eastern Conference, a game out of first place.
The Boston Celtics got some good news after Robert Williams’ surgery
It’s a tough blow to know Williams is gone for the remainder of the regular season, but if the Celtics can win a round in the playoffs, there’s a good chance he’ll be suiting up in Round 2.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Williams underwent successful surgery and he could be back in the Boston lineup in four to six weeks. That’s about as good as it gets for the Celtics.
That time frame should get him back by the second round of the playoffs, should the Celtics advance. The second round is expected to begin sometime around May 1.
According to Udoka, there were several scenarios that could play out, depending on the severity of the tear and the type of surgery required to fix it. The four-to-six-week scenario is the best case for Boston.
With Williams out, Daniel Theis will need to fill the gap
Replacing Williams for the next month or so will be challenging, but Brad Stevens made a nice move at the trade deadline that should help ease the pain. The Celtics re-acquired center Daniel Theis in a deal with the Houston Rockets. Theis was ecstatic to make his way back to Boston.
“I wouldn’t say shocked — kind of relieved and happy,” Theis said after the deal, per Mass Live. “I think Houston just didn’t work out like I planned it. In my mind, if I was going to be traded I wanted to come back here. I’m just happy to be back and leave Houston behind me. Just looking forward to the rest of the season.”
While Theis isn’t the rim-protector Williams is, he is a high-energy guy. He’s a good rebounder and can score. In the OT loss to the Raptors, Theis scored 13 points and added 10 rebounds. He led the team in minutes played with 41.
Theis was a fan favorite in Boston during his first stint with the team. Boston traded him to the Chicago Bulls last year. In August, the Bulls traded Theis to the Rockets, who kept him on the bench for the most part as they focused on letting their younger players take the court.
He’s happy to be back in Boston, and for the next four to six weeks, he’ll be a big part of the Celtics’ plans.