It’s official. Due to left knee soreness, Robert Williams will not participate in game 5 of the Boston Celtics’ pressure-filled series against the Milwaukee Bucks. Unfortunately, the Louisiana native was absent from Boston’s previous game, a 116-108 victory on Monday, May 9, with the same injury.
Robert Williams is OUT for Game 5.— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) May 11, 2022
According to Ime Udoka, Williams is making solid progress with his recovery. However, he is still encountering some soreness, leading the team to take a cautious approach as they aim to have him back near full strength in the near future.
Luckily, the Celtics have proven they’re capable of remaining competitive in Williams’ absence, as the rim-protecting big man has been in and out of the team's postseason rotation due to a meniscus tear and now the inflammation and soreness of the knee. It makes sense then that the Celtics shut Williams down until he’s feeling close to full fitness, especially as the team has plans for a deep playoffs run and will need him further down the line.
Ime Udoka said Williams' swelling has come down, but he still has soreness. The team is being cautious with Williams coming off surgery and he'll be out until the soreness subsides. https://t.co/aEK9BXRYxm— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) May 11, 2022
Williams, who returned to the Celtics’ rotation on April 23, hasn’t been his usual impactful self, especially against the Milwaukee Bucks, where their rim protection has limited his ability to get going downhill and offer an outlet above the rim. As such, we’ve seen a subdued version of the Timelord, netting just 26 points throughout his three games against the reigning champions.
Even when healthy, Williams has scarcely been tasked with guarding Giannis Antetokounmpo as his size and strength seem to be too much for Williams to deal with so soon after returning to the lineup. Instead, Al Horford and Grant Williams have taken control of that matchup and have been winning plaudits from around the league for their job thus far.
Make no mistake, though, Williams’ rim protection and perimeter shot deterrence will be missed, as he’s managed to swat away 10 shots in his three post-season games against Milwaukee, including a couple of perimeter jumpers.
Boston enters Wednesday’s game tied 2-2 with the Bucks and will be looking to utilize their home-court advantage to take the lead in what has been a physical war between two conference powerhouses. Hopefully, Williams will continue to rehab his injury and become available for the inevitable game six these two teams are set to play.
The Celtics will tip-off against the Bucks tonight at 7:00 p.m. EST as they bid to take control of this series before heading back to Milwaukee for Game 6.