In an appearance on ESPN’s NBA Countdown last night, Adrian Wojnarowski hinted at a crucial addition to the Celtics playoff roster earlier than many had expected.
“The possibility I’m told is very real that Robert Williams could return in this first round series against the Nets. Now, Game 6 would fall on one month from his left knee meniscus surgery back on March 30th and the thought from the very beginning was because of the nature of this meniscus surgery that he could be back even within that one-month timetable. He’s continued to progress, he’s met all his benchmarks I’m told, and there’s a real possibility for Boston.”
That tracks with the guarded optimism that the Celtics have held with a potential Timelord return in Round 1. Initially, the timeline was set at four to six weeks which would have pegged his return somewhere in the conference semifinals if Boston were to advance, but it sounds like they’ve kept the door open for the chance of an earlier return. Yesterday after practice, head coach Ime Udoka was cagey/vague updating Williams’ recovery.
“He’s looking good and in good spirits, like I’ve said from Day One. Just attacking the rehab process and getting out on the court, getting some shooting drills and touch work,” Udoka said. “We’re happy with the progress, but at the same time, it’s going to take time. Like I mentioned, probably, it’s going to be a full series without him. That’s what we’re looking at in doing.”
“Touch work” could suggest that Williams has started some light contact drills on his road to recovery and while it might just be a slip of the tongue, Udoka did slip in a “probably” when suggesting that they would be an entire round without him.
When Williams initially had the surgery, Udoka mentioned that there was a big difference between “sewing up” the tendon which would lead to a much longer recovery vs. cutting out the tear which the medical staff opted for, ensuring long term and potential short term success.