As the Boston Celtics prepare to host the LA Clippers tonight in their final game before the All-Star break, second-year big Robert Williams will still be on the bench.
But, perhaps, not for much longer.
According to Celtics head coach Brad Stevens, Williams is scheduled to suit up for practice next week when team activities resume.
“It’ll be the first time he’ll have participated in any team activities [since the injury] as far as a full practice,” Stevens told reporters at shootaround today.
Brad Stevens details the plan for Robert Williams— Chris Forsberg (@ChrisForsberg_) February 13, 2020
"If we can get him back into this fold and get him in that kind of rotating spot with those other guys, that helps our team a lot.”
Danny Ainge says team is really encouraged by what they’ve seen from Williams so far. pic.twitter.com/JFx6O1CmFW
Stevens said Williams will work with the team to build up his pace over a week and a half and then, hopefully, he’ll be cleared to play with minutes restrictions.
If everything goes according to plan, Williams could make his return just in time for Boston to host the Houston Rockets on Leap Day, February 29. He’ll have missed nearly half the season, almost 40 games, at that point.
Having the springy Williams back in the rotation could give the Celtics a boost in their second unit rotations. Whereas Enes Kanter got himself played off the floor when the Rockets stretched him to the three-point line earlier this week, Williams can make up the ground after getting beat and still offer rim protection and rebounding. Against teams with more traditional bigs, Williams has the length and size to hang around. On the offensive end, the second-year center has already shown some promising passing skills.
“If we can get him back in the fold and get him into that kind of rotating spot with those other guys, that helps our team a lot,” said Stevens.
Before heading into his long inactive streak, Williams was averaging 3.9 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.1 assists, and 1.1 blocks on about 14 minutes per game. He’s never had a history of playing 30-plus minutes for the C’s, so a minutes restriction might not look much different than the usual. Nonetheless, the added depth would support Daniel Theis and gives Stevens another wrinkle for his lineup as Boston prepares for a playoff push.
Watch the full shootaround interview with Stevens via CLNS below.