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Robert Williams looks ready to return according to Brad Stevens’ ‘non-medical eyes’

Williams is showing in practice with highlight-reel dunks that he is close to a return.

NBA: Boston Celtics at Denver Nuggets Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Celtics coach Brad Stevens is hoping his eyes aren’t lying to him because they are suggesting that Robert Williams is ready to play.

“He’s dunking at like 13 feet right now,” Stevens told reporters during Tuesday’s shootaround prior to the Celtics matchup with the Portland Trail Blazers. “So he looks fine by my non-medical eyes.”

But Williams won’t be coming back just yet as he continues his recovery from a left hip bone edema that has kept him sidelined since Dec. 9 and caused him to miss 35 games already.

Williams, who has returned to full team practices and joined the Celtics on their recent west coast road trip, is scheduled for another scan of his injured hip at the end of the week. That will be the ultimate test for Williams as it sounds like if those results are positive, Williams will suit up.

“It’s all about the scan at the end of the week,” Stevens said. “If ramping him up has provided no increase in issues, then he’s ready to go. If the scan doesn’t look good we’re back to square one.”

Williams also hinted that he’s very close to returning, sending out a tweet after the Celtics fell to the Los Angeles Lakers Sunday.

Having Williams back in the rotation will be beneficial for the Celtics. Backup center Enes Kanter has played in just a combined 14 minutes in the C’s two games since the All-Star break, struggling to defend against more athletic bigs. Williams will provide a rim protecting presence off the bench as he surely will take some minutes away from Kanter and rookie Grant Williams.

It’s undoubtedly been a frustrating second season for Williams, who seemed poised for a breakout year. The 6-foot-8 center, who the Celtics drafted at No. 27 overall out of Texas A&M, played in only 32 games during his rookie campaign.

Williams saw action this season in 19 of Boston’s first 21 games, averaging 3.9 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.1 blocks, but hasn’t played since. If all goes well with the scan, though, it seems like Williams could play as soon as Saturday when the Celtics host the Houston Rockets.

For now, though, Williams will just have to settle for putting on a dunk contest during practice.

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