Here’s what Ime Udoka said about Robert Williams’ surgery, potential return this season

"He has some optimism that possibly he can come back, and guys have to step up in the meantime."

Robert Williams
Celtics assistant coach Will Hardy is pictured on the sidelines as he greets center Robert Williams as he comes out of the game and heads to the bench. Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Robert Williams will need surgery to repair the torn meniscus in his left knee according to Ime Udoka, but the Celtics remain uncertain how long their promising young center will be out.

Williams left Sunday’s game against the Timberwolves with pain in his left knee. On Monday, Williams’ MRI returned with bad news, and Ime Udoka confirmed that Williams will need surgery of some kind prior to the Celtics’ game against the Raptors.

“We’ll know in the next few days, just evaluate some surgical options, look at those over the next few days and we’ll know more then,” Udoka said.


The Celtics have been significantly better on both ends with Williams in the game, but they will hope to replace his production with what Al Horford, Daniel Theis, and Grant Williams provide.

“It changes the dynamic obviously, how important he is for us and what he does for us, but that’s why we feel confident with getting Daniel in for these reasons,” Udoka said. “And so, as much as we wanted to shave down some minutes with Al and Rob going into the playoffs, that’s also an insurance policy. And Daniel’s a guy who is versatile, can do a lot of the same things as both those guys. Different player obviously, but we’re relying on him. Obviously got the option to downsize and then Grant doing what he’s doing.

“So, time being, we’ll know more in the next few days about Rob specifically, but until then other guys will step up in and have to carry the load.”

Udoka didn’t rule out a return this season, noting that “there are some [surgical options] that keep you out longer than others and we’re hoping for the best as far as that.” He added that Williams has had issues with tendinitis in his right knee in the past.


“Honestly, it could be a build up of something, but traditionally, this has been his better knee,” Udoka said. “So it’s unfortunate that it happened and obviously, it’s something that’s hard to prevent if you can’t really pinpoint what happened on a specific play or anything.

“He has some optimism that possibly he can come back and guys have to step up in the meantime. We’ve done it all year and hopefully, he’ll be back sooner than later. We’ll see in the next few days, but that should give him some hope and optimism to heal up and rely on everybody else to kind of take his spot for now.”


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