After what seems like an eternity, it would appear that Robert Williams is set to make his season debut for the Boston Celtics when they face off against the Orlando Magic on Friday, December 16, per The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
In March of this year, Williams was diagnosed with a meniscus tear in his left knee, forcing him to have surgery to repair the issue. Luckily, the highly-impactful center returned to the rotation mid-way through the first round of the playoffs, although he clearly struggled with fitness and game sharpness. Things went from bad to worse for Williams over the summer when it was reported that he would be undergoing a second surgery on his knee, and has been rehabbing from that surgery ever since.
Without Williams in the rotation, the Celtics have slowly developed their defense throughout the opening months of the new season and currently sit 8th in the NBA for defensive rating. However, with the addition of Williams, a 2022 All-Defensive center, Boston’s defense will likely kick up a gear. Furthermore, despite his prolonged absence, Williams returns to a Celtics team that currently leads the NBA with a 22-7 record, courtesy of a league-leading offense that is putting up 116.8 points per 100 possessions.
In his first full season as a starter, Williams experienced a breakout year, averaging 10.0 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks while shooting 73.6 percent from the field. However, it should be noted that it’s unlikely we will see Williams return to that level of play in the immediate future as he continues to work towards being in game shape, meaning we’re most likely going to see the high-flying big man operating under a minutes restriction for the foreseeable future — something which makes sense as the Celtics continue to keep one eye on the post-season.
Still, Williams’ return will be greeted with optimism and excitement, as for the first time this season; we will likely see a somewhat full-strength roster take to the court as Boston looks to overcome a Magic team that has been on a tear in recent games.