Robert Williams Sounds Off ‘I’m Just Ready to Come Back’

Robert Williams, Boston Celtics

Getty Robert Williams, Boston Celtics

Robert Williams has been the anchor behind the Boston Celticsleague-leading defense this season, so when news broke of his torn meniscus, you could be forgiven for expecting the worst.

Luckily, the tear was a minor one and required the shortest possible recovery time following surgery to trim the torn flap. But, Williams will still miss between four-to-six weeks of play according to ESPN’S Adrian Wojnarowski.

Williams’ rehab must be going well though, because, on April 2, he took time to answer questions from the media. During the press conference, Williams opened up on the initial moments following his injury, and how his rehab is already in full swing.

“I ain’t know what was wrong during the game, but I knew something happened that was going to stop me from playing. I was just telling Payton on the bench, I was like, ‘I’m kinda nervous, bro. My knee’s hurting.

I tried to walk around a little bit, but I couldn’t, so the next day, I found out I had torn it, but honestly, right now, I’m in a great place mentally. Physically, feeling way better. Just going along with the rehab, standing up for the guys, cheering them on. I’m just ready to come back,” Williams said.

Marcus Smart Believes Celtics Were ‘Coddled’

Robert Williams is unquestionably one of the best rim protectors in the NBA and currently ranks second among all players for blocked shots per game. With such a reliable rim protector, the Celtics were able to quickly rise to the top of the league’s defensive rankings, and have been one of the league’s best teams since the turn of the calendar year.

It makes sense then, that since Williams’ injury, the Celtics have struggled to maintain their defensive intensity, especially when guarding the pick-and-roll. In the three games since losing their defensive anchor, the Celtics have lost two contests against the Toronto Raptors and Miami Heat and then struggled to overcome a hobbled Indiana Pacers team that was missing some of their most talented players.

“We did get a little, you know, coddled with the fact that Rob was back there. He cleaned up a lot of those mistakes. With him out, we’ve got to change just a little bit. Everybody else has to give a little bit more than what they were because of that.

And it’s is part of the game. We still have everybody else defensively that has been doing great on defense. And we’ll continue to do that with or without Rob. But obviously, you know, while he’s getting his recovery, we’ve got to hold it down for him,” Smart told the media following the Celtics’ hard-fought victory.

Luckily, Boston does have a deep reserve of big men. Al Horford and Daniel Theis are both talented defenders in their own right, while Luke Kornet is a capable deputy who excels as a drop big man in pick-and-roll coverages while also offering some floor spacing due to his three-point shooting ability.

Williams Was Having a DPOY Caliber Season

When you’re the primary defensive anchor for the best defensive team in the league, it’s only a matter of time until your name starts getting thrown around in Defensive Player of the Year conversations.

And for Williams, those discussions began to pick up in mid-March, with multiple outlets placing the athletic center among the outside bets for the prestigious individual award. However, the Louisana native would rather see his teammate, Marcus Smart, get the recognition, as he credits the Celtics veteran guard with setting the tone on defense.

“I think that anyone on that court making an impact, no matter the position, should be able to win Defensive Player of the Year. Marcus Smart – that’s how I feel about that,” Williams said. And when pressed if the 28-year-old guard would get his vote for DPOY, Boston’s rim protector simply replied, “Easy.”

Due to the success of Williams’ surgery, and the fact that he’s already rehabbing with the team, it’s highly likely that we see the 24-year-old center during the playoffs. The current timescale on the Texas A&M alumn’s return places him in the second round of the post-season, so, assuming the Celtics make it through their first-round match-up, fans can continue dreaming of a deep playoff run.

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