The Boston Celtics have been rolling so far this year. After reaching the NBA Finals last season for the first time since 2010, they have jumped out to a 14-4 start this year, which places them in first place atop the Eastern Conference.
They’ve managed to accomplish all of that without their starting center, Robert Williams, who had meniscus surgery before the start of the season. However, according to sources who spoke to Sean Deveney of Heavy Sports, the Celtics aren’t too worried about his timetable for return.
In fact, he could “probably” be back on the court at the start of December, but they want to ensure his long-term health.
“You don’t get the sense they are too worried about it,” an Eastern Conference GM told Deveney. “Like, he could play probably at the beginning of December or so, but there is no need to rush, and they don’t want it to come back up again.”
When Williams’ had his surgery, it was reported that he would miss 8-12 weeks of action. That news was broken on September 23, and it’s been roughly nine weeks since then.
The big man was a crucial part of Boston’s success last season, as he was the anchor of their defense. He had a breakout season and was named to the NBA’s All-Defensive Second Team. Last year, Williams averaged 10.0 points, 9.6 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and 2.2 blocks per game on 73.6% shooting from the field.
Williams Could Be Back by Christmas
“Robert Williams, who had surgery on his left knee two months ago today. His agent, Kevin Bradbury told me tonight that he expects Robert Williams will be back by Christmas,” Wojnarowski said on ESPN’s NBA Countdown. “That gives him another month here, he’s progressing well on his rehab. And listen, this is a player who had two surgery’s in the last calendar year, they certainly want to take their time. Even without him, this is a team with the best record in the NBA, but they expect him to be back by Christmas.”
Boston is slated to take on the Milwaukee Bucks on Christmas Day, which would provide Williams with a marquee matchup for his return. However, as the East GM noted, Boston is expected to be extremely careful with Williams.
Williams Sounds Off on Progress
“They just try to hold me [back from] being a little too explosive sometimes, take my time with it. But pick and rolls, running the court, really doing a lot,” Williams said via King. He also noted that he’s been “stepping it up” in workouts.
Williams’ return should elevate Boston to another level. With his defensive impact and ability to vertically space the floor, he’s bound to give the Celtics a major boost.