NBA Insiders Share New Injury Update on Celtics Big Man Robert Williams

Robert Williams of the Boston Celtics

Getty Robert Williams of the Boston Celtics.

Throughout the second half of the season, the narrative surrounding the Boston Celtics surrounded their incredible turnaround. They emerged as the league’s best defense, Jayson Tatum was playing out of his mind, and they looked like one of the best teams in basketball. But then March 27 came along.

In a game vs. the Minnesota Timberwolves, big man Robert Williams exited and did not return. The next morning, it was announced that the center had suffered a torn meniscus and would be out for the next 4-6 weeks. However, according to recent reports from a couple of NBA insiders, he might make his return to the court sooner than that.

On an April 13 episode of NBA Countdown, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN shared a crucial update on Williams’ progress. When asked about whether or not Williams could return in the first round, Wojnarowski said that the possibility is “very real”:

The possibility, I’m told, is very real that Robert Williams could return in this first-round series against the Nets. Now, Game 6 six would fall on one month, just about one month from his left knee meniscus surgery back on March 30. And the thought from the very beginning was, because of the nature of this meniscus surgery, that he could be back even within that one-month timetable. 

'VERY REAL' possibility Robert Williams plays vs. Nets – Woj | NBA CountdownAdrian Wojnarowski joins NBA Countdown to discuss the possibility of Boston Celtics center Robert Williams playing vs. the Brooklyn Nets in the first round of the 2022 NBA Playoffs. ☑️ Subscribe to ESPN+: 📱Get the ESPN App: 🏀 Subscribe to NBA on ESPN on YouTube: ☑️Subscribe to ESPN on YouTube: ☑️Watch…2022-04-13T22:20:53Z

For the past few weeks, head coach Ime Udoka has continuously noted that the Celtics have been preparing to not have Williams back until the second round. However, both he and Brad Stevens never completely closed the door on the possibility that he could return sooner. And now, with this report from Wojnarowski, that possibility seems more possible than ever.

Sources Indicate Williams is Ahead of Schedule

Wojnarowski isn’t the only one reporting on this possibility, either. According to NBA insider Steve Bulpett, who has covered the Celtics and NBA since 1985, Williams’ return could be imminent. In his conversation with’s Sean Deveney, Bulpett was asked whether or not he thinks Williams will return against the Nets. He responded with an emphatic yes:

I do, and I think it could come earlier than that, too. It’s going to be that he will be structurally ready enough to play. They did not rearrange stuff. They took away a problem area. How he feels physically, pain-tolerance-wise, he is doing pretty well right now. More, it will be a matter of, how does he feel, confidence-wise, vis-à-vis the knee? I think you could see him come back earlier.

Heavy on NBA playoff talk with Steve NBA insider Steve Bulpett talks playoffs with editor Sean Deveney.2022-04-13T22:12:00Z

This falls in line with the comments Stevens made on the April 8 edition of Toucher & Rich. He said that Williams is “not going to be on the court until we feel 100 percent confident and he feels 100 percent confident that he is ready to play at a really good level.”

In addition, sources close to the situation spoke to Deveney and, shedding even more light on Williams’ situation. They said that, while he’s ahead of schedule, his return will depend on what the doctors tell him:

Fair to say he is ahead of schedule. He wants to get out there but obviously, he’s got to listen to the doctors on that. But he knows his body well and he knows when he is feeling right.

Wojnarowski on Williams’ Progress

All of these claims were further backed up by Wojnarowski. During that same segment, he said that Williams has met all of his benchmarks so far. He also mentioned that, if Williams were to return, it would be toward the back-end of the series:

He has continued to progress. He’s met all his benchmarks so far, I’m told. And there is a real possibility for Boston, a player who played as much as any role, along with Marcus Smart, in why Boston had the top defensive efficiency in the NBA this season, could be back to play against the Nets in the back end of this series against Brooklyn in the first round. It would be a huge boost for this Boston team in trying to get past Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.

With a grueling matchup with the Brooklyn Nets staring them in the face, the Celtics would welcome all the reinforcements they can get. It’s been made clear that they have no intentions of rushing Williams back, but based on these reports, they may not have to.

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