Boston Celtics President of Basketball Operations Brad Stevens has pushed back on an October 18 Shams Charania report noting that big man Robert Williams had received a platelet-rich plasma injection into his problematic knee to speed up his recovery.
Appearing on 98.5’s “Toucher & Rich” on October 20, Stevens said he was unaware of anything that could potentially cause Williams to miss any additional time due to his recovery from September 22 arthroscopic surgery.
“No one has told me that it [Williams’ return] has been moved back, so no. … The same eight- to 12-week timeline that we put out after he had the surgery, that was September 22, so eight to 12 weeks from there is the timeline,” Stevens said.
Charania, of The Athletic, had reported that Williams could potentially be out of action until early 2023. The timeline is simply a return to basketball activities, not a guarantee of Williams’ return to the team’s rotation.
“I’m told that Robert Williams underwent a PRP injection on Monday to continue to promote healing in that injured knee,” Charania said on Fan Duel TV’s “Run It Back.” “He’s going to return at some point in the second half of the season. I’m told his hope is sometime in December or January, but it could be later than that.”
Celtics ‘Not Rushing’ Robert Williams
Stevens told “Toucher & Rich” that Williams’ rehab was progressing but that the Celtics had no plans to rush him back into the team.
“His rehab has gone well, and he seems to be doing well,” Stevens said. “But we’re not gonna rush him. And in the meantime, we’re going to have to fill those minutes, but nobody can fill them like him. He’s just a game changer.”
Williams was a stellar force for Boston last year, averaging 10 points, 9.6 rebounds and two assists per game while shooting 73.6% from the field. His return could mean that Boston’s offense and defense would make a significant leap in production.
Noah Vonleh Is Filling a Role
In Williams’ absence, Noah Vonleh projects to be the player tasked with filling his shoes, after the former top 10 draft pick earned a roster spot following an impressive training camp and preseason.
Speaking to the media following his regular-season debut on October 18, Vonleh said that he’d earned the opportunity after playing the 2021-22 season with the Chinese Basketball Association’s Shanghai Sharks.
“I haven’t been in the league for a year, played in China last year. First game back, so I was definitely very excited. I don’t think there was any anxiety or anything. I was pretty prepared. I put in the work and prepared myself for that moment, so just got to keep going,” Vonleh said.
In the Celtics’ 126-117 season-opening win over the Philadelphia 76ers on October 18, he provided the team with two points, two rebounds, a steal and a block in 20 minutes of action. Not quite the impact that Robert Williams would make, but Vonleh was being guarded by MVP candidate Joel Embiid.