Celtics ‘optimistic’ Robert Williams will play Game 5 after early departure in Game 4

Williams had his best performances since his surgery in March in Games 3 and 4.

Robert Williams has been dealing with a left knee injury since March. Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Celtics center Robert Williams looked the best he’s been, since he tore the meniscus in his left knee in March, in Games 3 and 4 of the NBA Finals. The excitement over Williams’s play though turned into concern when he asked out of the Celtics’ Game 4 loss as he appeared to be hobbling again.

Celtics coach Ime Udoka isn’t sure when Williams hurt himself in Game 4.

“Yes, he mentioned [the pain],” Udoka told reporters Sunday. “He didn’t do a specific thing, so he doesn’t know when it happened – sprinting up and down one time after one possession and it was bothering him a little bit so that’s why he asked to come out. So, not a specific incident. We watched the film and nothing stood out there. Obviously, it led to the blow-by with [Steph] Curry where he couldn’t move great on that possession.”


Despite that, Udoka is feeling positive about Williams’s status for Monday’s pivotal Game 5.

“Doing better on the day off with the rest, equal today and tomorrow,” Udoka said. “[We’re] optimistic he’ll be good to go but we’ll test it before the game as usual.”

Williams began to look like a major X-factor for the Celtics in Game 3 of the NBA Finals after a stretch of inconsistent play as he returned from left knee surgery. In Game 3, Williams scored eight points and had 10 rebounds in 26 minutes.

What stood out the most though in Williams’s Game 3 performance was the ground he was able to cover on the defensive end. He had four blocks and three steals, playing a key role in limiting the Warriors to 11 points in the fourth quarter of the Celtics’ 116-100 win.

Williams looked strong again in Game 4. He scored seven points and had 12 rebounds, adding four assists, two blocks, and a steal in 31 minutes, the most he’s played since his injury in March.


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