Boston Celtics

Center Robert Williams III returned for the Boston Celtics in Game 1 of the 2022 Eastern Conference Finals, but wasn’t able to finish due to yet another injury scare.

Fortunately, head coach Ime Udoka told reporters after the game that Williams’ new issue is unrelated to his recently surgically repaired knee. In fact, it was just a “cramp in his calf,” as far as Udoka knows.

Not ideal that the oft-injured Williams had to deal with something fresh, again. But that it’s not related to his MCL is relatively good news. He had returned to the court after missing the final four games of the Celtics’ series against the Bucks with knee soreness.

Williams started limping after this play midway through the fourth quarter, while defending Heat big man Bam Adebayo:

He left after the play and didn’t return. The Heat were up 12 with about six minutes left in the game, so while it may not have quite been white flag time, it’s understandable that the team would sit Williams for the final six minutes as a precaution.

Williams was arguably the Celtics’ best player in Game 1, scoring 18 points and pulling down nine rebounds with two blocked shots in 28 minutes. He was also the only Celtic to finish with a positive plus/minus, with a plus-5.

The Celtics are dealing with all kinds of health questions about their starters. Point guard Marcus Smart is reportedly aiming to return in Game 2, while Al Horford’s availability is a mystery after he entered the NBA’s Health & Safety Protocol.

PHOTOS: Celtics take on Heat in Game 1 of 2022 Eastern Conference Finals

More from 985TheSportsHub.com…

NBA announces full schedule for Celtics-Heat Eastern Conference Finals

  • Check out the full schedule for the series below. All games will be carried live on 98.5 The Sports Hub, with pregame coverage starting 30 minutes before the scheduled tip-off.

    Game 1: Tuesday, May 17, 8:30 p.m. ET

    Jan 31, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) drives between Miami Heat guard Duncan Robinson (55) and guard Tyler Herro (14) during the second half at TD Garden. (Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports)

    Jan 31, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) drives between Miami Heat guard Duncan Robinson (55) and guard Tyler Herro (14) during the second half at TD Garden. (Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports)

  • Game 2: Thursday, May 19, 8:30 p.m. ET

    Nov 4, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (7) shoots over Miami Heat guard Kyle Lowry (7) during the first half at FTX Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

    Nov 4, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (7) shoots over Miami Heat guard Kyle Lowry (7) during the first half at FTX Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

  • Game 3: Saturday, May 21, 8:30 p.m. ET

    Nov 4, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) drives the ball around Boston Celtics center Al Horford (42) during the first half at FTX Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

    Nov 4, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) drives the ball around Boston Celtics center Al Horford (42) during the first half at FTX Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

  • Game 4: Monday, May 23, 8:30 p.m. ET

    LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 25: Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat drives the ball against Marcus Smart #36 of the Boston Celtics during the first quarter in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena at the ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on September 25, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. 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 Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

    LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA – SEPTEMBER 25: Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat drives the ball against Marcus Smart #36 of the Boston Celtics during the first quarter in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena at the ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on September 25, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

  • Game 5 (if necessary): Wednesday, May 25, 8:30 p.m. ET

    Jan 31, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Miami Heat forward Caleb Martin (16) shoots against Boston Celtics center Robert Williams III (44) during the second quarter at TD Garden. (Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports)

    Jan 31, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Miami Heat forward Caleb Martin (16) shoots against Boston Celtics center Robert Williams III (44) during the second quarter at TD Garden. (Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports)

  • Game 6 (if necessary): Friday, May 27, 8:30 p.m. ET

    Nov 4, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) shoots the ball against Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo (13) during the first half at FTX Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

    Nov 4, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) shoots the ball against Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo (13) during the first half at FTX Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

  • Game 7 (if necessary): Sunday, May 29, 8:30 p.m. ET

    Nov 4, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (7) blocks the shot of Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) during the first half at FTX Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

    Nov 4, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (7) blocks the shot of Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) during the first half at FTX Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

  • Full Schedule

    Oct 15, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) shoots the ball over Miami Heat guard Duncan Robinson (55) during the second half at FTX Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

    Oct 15, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) shoots the ball over Miami Heat guard Duncan Robinson (55) during the second half at FTX Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

    Game 1: Tuesday, May 17 in Miami; 8 p.m. pregame/8:30 tip
    Game 2: Thursday, May 19 in Miami; 8 p.m. pregame/8:30 tip
    Game 3: Saturday, May 21 at TD Garden; 8 p.m. pregame/8:30 tip
    Game 4: Monday, May 23 at TD Garden; 8 p.m. pregame/8:30 tip
    Game 5 (if necessary): Wednesday, May 25 in Miami; 8 p.m. pregame/8:30 tip
    Game 6 (if necessary): Friday, May 27 at TD Garden; 8 p.m. pm pregame/8:30 tip
    Game 7 (if necessary): Sunday, May 29 in Miami; 8 p.m. pregame/8:30 tip

    Click here for the full on-air schedule at 98.5 The Sports Hub.

Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @realmattdolloff. You can also email him at mdolloff@985thesportshub.com.


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  • The good news? It was one game. The Celtics don’t often lose two straight anymore. In theory, they should get Smart or Horford – or both – back. And they were coming off a tough, physical series against Milwaukee – not to mention a pulsating Game 7 victory – that screamed for a letdown, particularly when they had to travel to a rested Miami team.

    So fine.

    Game 2 is Thursday night.

    But if it happens again, we’ll be forced to wonder if the Celtics just can’t withstand the Heat.

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  • Jayson Tatum: “It’s on me …”

  • Jayson Tatum: “I don’t wanna turn the ball over – [expletive] like that…”

NEXT: Ime Udoka on the Celtics’ third-quarter struggles in Game 1