Boston Celtics

Celtics center Robert Williams III was originally given a return timeline of 4-6 weeks from his recent meniscus surgery. And both head coach Ime Udoka and President of Basketball Ops Brad Stevens are sticking to that.

Thanks to the NBA’s outrageously spaced-out scheduling for the playoffs, a possible Game 5 between the Celtics and Nets would mark exactly four weeks since Williams underwent meniscus surgery. Game 6, if necessary, would fall on Friday, April 29, and Game 7 would be Sunday, May 1.

So, the most optimistic outlook would have Williams returning to the court before the end of the Celtics-Nets series, provided it goes at least five games. But if he remains out the full six weeks as originally estimated, Williams would have to sit out the entire first round.

Speaking in a new interview with 98.5 the Sports Hub’s Zolak and Bertrand, Udoka said the Celtics are preparing as if that’s exactly what will happen.

“Our whole thing is the 4-6 week timeline, and we understand that we’re gonna have to win a series, most likely, without him,” Udoka said when asked if the team has clarity on Williams’ return. “So, we’re sticking to that. If we’re surprised by something, great, if not, we understand what we have to do in order to get him back in the second round.”

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Speaking to 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher and Rich on Thursday, Stevens said Williams “has a way to go” in his recovery, but “has progressed well” so far. Williams has been rehabbing at the Auerbach Center twice a day with what he’s able to do in terms of workouts.

But as far as his return, Stevens exercised caution with the idea that Williams could return before the end of the first round. Like Udoka, he’s sticking to the 4-6 weeks for now.

“I’m comfortable with the timeline that we initially put out,” Stevens said. “We’ll see what happens over the next couple of weeks. But we are not going to put Rob out there until he is fully prepared to be out there. Rob is a guy that, obviously, is very important to our team, and will be very important to our team for a long time.”

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The Celtics and Nets tip off for Game 1 on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC. You can get the call of the game on 98.5 The Sports Hub, starting with pregame at 3.

NBA announces complete schedule for Celtics-Nets playoff series

  • Mar 6, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) reacts during the second half against the Brooklyn Nets at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

    Mar 6, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) reacts during the second half against the Brooklyn Nets at TD Garden. (Paul Rutherford/USA TODAY Sports)

    Game 1: Sunday, Apr. 17 at TD Garden (3:30 p.m., ABC)

    The fun between the rivals will begin with an Easter Sunday showdown at TD Garden.

    The game, which is scheduled for a 3:30 p.m. tipoff on ABC, will mark the first time that the Celtics have started the postseason at home at TD Garden since their 2019 first-round series with the Pacers. That was also a Sunday afternoon tilt at TD Garden, though it was not an Easter Sunday showdown.

  • Mar 6, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (7) drives to the basket during the second half against the Brooklyn Nets at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

    Mar 6, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (7) drives to the basket during the second half against the Brooklyn Nets at TD Garden. (Paul Rutherford/USA TODAY Sports)

    Game 2: Wednesday, Apr. 20 at TD Garden (7 p.m., TNT)

    4-20 will certainly feature some green in Boston, with the Celtics and Nets set to resume their series with after a full two-day break between Games 1 and 2.  This game is set for a 7 p.m. tip on TNT, according to the NBA.

    The Celtics are 6-3 in Game 2 contests since 2018, and are 4-0 in their last four Game 2 games at TD Garden.

  • NEW YORK, NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 08: Patty Mills #8 of the Brooklyn Nets is defended by Marcus Smart #36 of the Boston Celtics in the first half at Barclays Center on February 08, 2022 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)

    NEW YORK, NEW YORK – FEBRUARY 08: Patty Mills #8 of the Brooklyn Nets is defended by Marcus Smart #36 of the Boston Celtics in the first half at Barclays Center on February 08, 2022 in New York City. (Steven Ryan/Getty Images)

    Game 3: Saturday, Apr. 23 at Barclays Center (TBD, ESPN)

    After yet another full two-day break between games, the Celtics and Nets will take their head-to-head to Brooklyn’s Barclays Center for a Saturday Game 3. The game, which does not have a start time as of right now, will air on ESPN.

  • BOSTON, MA - MARCH 06 Grant Williams #12 of the Boston Celtics guards Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets during a game at TD Garden on March 6, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

    BOSTON, MA – MARCH 06 Grant Williams #12 of the Boston Celtics guards Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets during a game at TD Garden on March 6, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

    Game 4: Monday, Apr. 25 at Barclays Center (TBD, TBD)

    Game 4 will come with mark the start of an every-other-day series finish between the sides.

  • BOSTON, MA - MARCH 06 Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics drives to the basket past Bruce Brown #1 of the Brooklyn Nets during a game at TD Garden on March 6, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

    BOSTON, MA – MARCH 06 Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics drives to the basket past Bruce Brown #1 of the Brooklyn Nets during a game at TD Garden on March 6, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

    Game 5: Wednesday, Apr. 27 at TD Garden (TBD, TBD)

    The Nets eliminated the Celtics in five games last year. This time around, if necessary, the Celtics will have the home court advantage in that Game 5. The Celtics have wins in five of their last seven Game 5 showdowns. They’ve been eliminated in both of those Game 5 defeats (2019 against Milwaukee and 2021 against Brooklyn).

  • NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 01: Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets dribbles as Marcus Smart #36 of the Boston Celtics defends during the second half of Game Five of their Eastern Conference first-round playoff series at Barclays Center on June 01, 2021 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

    NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JUNE 01: Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets dribbles as Marcus Smart #36 of the Boston Celtics defends during the second half of Game Five of their Eastern Conference first-round playoff series at Barclays Center on June 01, 2021 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

    Game 6: Friday, Apr. 29 at Barclays Center (TBD, TBD)

    Weird-and-likely-meaningless stat: The Celtics were 8-8 on Fridays in 2021-22. That was tied with a 10-10 record on Wednesdays for their worst winning percentage on any day of the week during the 2021-22 season. The Nets, meanwhile, had wins in 10 of their 12 games on Friday nights. That was their best day of the week record-wise.

  • BOSTON, MA - MARCH 06  Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics drives to the basket past Nic Claxton #33 of the Brooklyn Nets during a game at TD Garden on March 6, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

    BOSTON, MA – MARCH 06 Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics drives to the basket past Nic Claxton #33 of the Brooklyn Nets during a game at TD Garden on March 6, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

    Game 7: Sunday, May 1 at TD Garden (TBD, TBD)

    The Celtics have not had a Game 7 at the Garden since the 2018 Eastern Conference Finals.

NEXT: Recognition rolls in for Celtics head coach Ime Udoka