Celtics

Celtics ‘going in with the mindset’ that Robert Williams will miss first round

Robert Williams return
Boston Celtics center Robert Williams III sinks the ball as Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns tries to defend. AP Photo/Steven Senne

The Celtics aren’t expecting big man Robert Williams to return for a first-round playoff series after he suffered a meniscus tear in his left knee last month.

Ime Udoka didn’t entirely rule Williams out for the first round, but he told reporters in Chicago on Wednesday that while the Celtics can’t say anything definitive, the four-to-six week time frame “is what it is.”

“We’re going in with the mindset that he won’t be there for the first round,” Udoka said.

Still, Williams’ recovery has gone well to date, and he remained behind on the Celtics’ current road trip to rehab in Boston in an effort to “expedite the process,” per Udoka.

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“He’s a guy that’s locked in with the guys and so I felt it was better to leave him back there and get the process rolling as fast as possible,” Udoka said. “But like I said, he’s in good spirits. His first surgery, so he’s attacking it with the right mindset and I look forward to having him back sooner than later.”

The Celtics said Williams would miss 4-to-6 weeks in their initial press release after his surgery. Soon after, however, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski began reporting that the Celtics are hopeful Williams’ timeline could be closer to four weeks — perhaps even shorter.

Williams suffered his injury on March 27. He underwent surgery six days ago, which means Thursday will be the one-week mark. April 28 would be precisely four weeks out from his surgery, and the playoffs begin on April 16. Assuming a first-round series goes every other day, a four-week recovery could have Williams back for a potential Game 7.

Of course, the Celtics hope that their first-round series would be over by then. A first-round return for Williams is probably bad news, because it means the first-round series is going longer than it should.

Still, based on Wojnarowski’s reporting and the Celtics’ assessment of Williams, a second-round return seems well within reason.

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