Celtics

‘Heard that before’: Isaiah Thomas weighed in on the report about Robert Williams’s injury

The Celtics' medical staff has reportedly assured Williams that "he is not at further risk of worsening the repaired knee."

Isaiah Thomas
Isaiah Thomas during the 2016 NBA playoffs. Globe Staff Photo/Jim Davis

Celtics center Robert Williams III is currently playing in the NBA Finals with an ongoing knee issue, admitting after Game 3 that he is “taking a risk” in doing so.

Williams, 24, had surgery on March 30 to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee. He returned to Boston’s lineup in time for Game 3 of the team’s first-round playoff series against the Nets in April. He’s been listed as questionable ever since, missing games in each of the next two playoff series.

In a recent feature on Williams, Yahoo Sports NBA insider Chris Haynes reported that the Celtics’ medical staff has “ensured him that he is not at further risk of worsening the repaired knee. It’s all a matter of pain tolerance.”

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Williams admitted that he’s playing through abnormal circumstances.

“I was really having my knee drained a lot last series,” Williams told Haynes. “I stopped draining it because there was no point, in my opinion. My knee kept filling back up with fluid. So, I’ve kind of learned how to manage it to be able to play.”

But despite the assurances of the Celtics, one of the team’s former players weighed in to offer a reminder that the medical staff’s assessment might not always be correct.

Isaiah Thomas, who was an MVP candidate with the Celtics in the 2016-2017 season, tweeted on Thursday morning that he had “heard that before.”

Thomas’s circumstances remain notable because he — like Williams — played through an injury in the playoffs that season.

Averaging 23.3 points per game in the postseason (including a 53-point game against the Wizards in the Eastern Conference semifinals), Thomas suffered through an ongoing hip injury until he was eventually ruled out for the remainder of the playoffs in Boston’s defeat to the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference finals.

Thomas, who was traded to the Cavaliers during the following offseason as part of the Kyrie Irving deal, has struggled to fully recover in the ensuing years. He has never appeared in more than 40 games in a season since the 2017 playoffs.

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Exactly what the long-term implications are for Williams remain to be seen. But unlike Thomas — who was actively seeking a large contract extension during the 2017 season — Williams is currently in the first year of a four-year deal worth $48 million.

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