Boston Celtics center Robert Williams III has been hampered by a sore left knee throughout the postseason. He had surgery to repair a torn meniscus in April, and he is also dealing with a bone bruise. However, Celtics coach Ime Udoka is optimistic about Williams’ status heading into the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors, though he noted that the center’s status is considered day-to-day.
“Rob’s alright,” Udoka said Tuesday. “He felt good. His minutes were low. He only played 14 in [Game 7 against the Miami Heat] so we tried to keep him in the lower portion if we could. Obviously, that’s beneficial for him going forward, but the days off as well so he should feel better in general. [He’s] getting looked at today, will continue to get his treatment and his rehab in order to get swelling down and some of the pain and mobility back. It’s going to be an ongoing thing. He’s day-to-day throughout the playoffs.”
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Udoka thinks the spaced-out nature of the games in the Finals, along with the extended time off before the series starts will be beneficial when it comes to Williams’ ability.
“He should feel better with time in between, especially with the two days off in between games as opposed to playing every other day,” Udoka expanded. “Going back to the Milwaukee series, we played 17 days straight every other day so that’s going to take a toll on you coming off of surgery. We keep his minutes down and get him back to feeling better. That will benefit us going forward.”
Williams isn’t the only member of the Celtics who’s a bit banged up. Reigning Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart also missed two games in the conference finals against the Heat. He missed Game 1 due to a foot sprain, and missed Game 4 with a sprain ankle. The good news for the Celtics is that neither of those issues is expected to cause Smart to miss time against Golden State.
“Marcus, there’s no concern about that,” Udoka said. “The swelling is what it is and that’ll dissipate as time goes by. And the pain tolerance thing, he can obviously play through a lot, and he did that and played heavy minutes.”
The Celtics will need all the help they can get to take down the Warriors and claim their first NBA title since 2008, so the updates provided by Udoka regarding Williams and Smart are obviously encouraging.