In Monday night’s Game 4 Celtics win, center Robert Williams was able to return to the floor after missing Game 3 with soreness in his left knee. Williams played just 19 minutes thanks to the Celtics building up a 20-point lead for most of the second half. In his time on the floor, he had 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting with nine rebounds and two blocks.
Seeing the way the Celtics played with Williams back on the floor, especially following their Game 3 loss, made it clear what a difference maker he can be. However, he’s been limited to just eight games this postseason as he deals with a nagging and somewhat enigmatic knee injury.
Williams missed the end of the regular season and the first two games in the first round after tearing his meniscus and undergoing surgery. He played the final two games of the series against Brooklyn and then the first three of the next round against Milwaukee before missing the final four games of that series due to knee soreness reportedly related to a bone bruise. Once again, he returned for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, and played in Games 1 and 2 before the knee soreness became an issue again.
Despite the nagging issue, which visibly bothered him at times on the court during Game 4, Williams took a positive tone after the game. “Great feeling being out there, being back with my guys. And the knee? The knee feels great, it feels good,” he told reporters. “Obviously, just check on it tomorrow – see how it’s feeling recovery-wise.”
Reports on exactly what the issue with Williams’ knee is have been vague. On Monday night, Williams himself described what he’s been dealing with.
“It’s just swelling a little bit, stiffening up on me a little,” he explained. “I’m taking it day-by-day. Spending a lot of time with the trainers. Throwing a lot of scenarios at it, seeing how it responds.”
“[It’s] not necessarily pain tolerance, because once you have an injury it’s rare you feel no pain,” he continued. “It’s just reading if I’m limited to doing certain things. I don’t want to have a lot of limitations when I’m out there.”
Even when he has been ruled out throughout these playoffs, Williams has mainly been a game-time decision for the Celtics. So when asked about his status going into Game 5, Williams didn’t commit to anything.
“We usually wait to the next day to see if it’s swelling or anything. Like I said though, coming out of this game, no doubts in my head I feel good playing,” he said. “We’ll keep doing everything we can to make sure I get out there.”
The Celtics will release an injury report at some point during the off day on Tuesday. That will likely be the next update on Williams’ status, although it may not be conclusive. Game 5 will be played in Miami Wednesday night. Coverage begins at 8 p.m. on 98.5 The Sports Hub and the 98.5 The Sports Hub Celtics Radio Network, with tip-off set for 8:30.