Why the Celtics plan to be ‘conservative’ with Robert Williams and Kemba Walker

The Celtics are being cautious with Robert Williams and others, with their seed likely locked in.

Marcus Smart and Robert Williams are both out against the Cavaliers. AP Photo/David Zalubowski

The Celtics will be without several players on Wednesday when they take on the Cleveland Cavaliers, including Kemba Walker, Robert Williams and Marcus Smart.

Walker has sat out on the second night of back-to-back games all season in an effort to preserve his left knee, which limited him last season.

Before the game, Brad Stevens was asked if — given Walker’s recent improvements — the Celtics gave any thought to playing him, even though he played in the team’s loss to the Miami Heat on Tuesday.

“I don’t know that that would have been worth it,” Stevens said. “Our plan of attack has been to sit him on the second night of back-to-backs all the way through. He’s certainly gotten better. We certainly feel that wouldn’t be a huge stretch right now. But there’s no reason to push it now.”


Robert Williams, meanwhile, continues to battle a case of turf toe. Stevens said the third-year big received a cortisone shot, which had minimal effect. He added that the Celtics are trying to balance the rest Williams needs with ramping him back up when he returns.

“I don’t have any real update of when he’ll be back,” Stevens said. “Our plan is to be conservative with that, but there’s also an argument to be made of seeing what it’s like a few days from now.”

Smart, meanwhile, suffered a right calf contusion. He missed extended time with a calf strain earlier this year, but Stevens said Smart avoided any serious injury.

Unless the Celtics win the rest of their games and the Knicks lose the rest of theirs, the Celtics are destined for the play-in game. Stevens, however, said that seeding didn’t figure into the Celtics’ plans to sit players on Wednesday.

If the Celtics lose to the Cavaliers on Wednesday, or if the Knicks beat the Spurs on Thursday, the situation might resolve itself.

“We’ll reevaluate tomorrow and see if it’s more solidified by then,” Stevens said.


Jaylen Brown is out for the season as well with a torn ligament in his wrist. He is expected to have surgery next week.

The Celtics and Cavaliers tip off at 8 p.m.


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