Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka spoke with the media on Tuesday, offering injury updates on key players and explaining Boston’s outlook heading into the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors.
Udoka gave a lengthy update on starting center Robert Williams, who has been dealing with a lingering knee issue throughout the majority of the postseason. Williams underwent meniscus surgery late in March, and despite a return in the postseason, has been playing sporadic minutes as he deals with the pain.
Ime Udoka offers an injury update on Robert Williams and Marcus Smart and discusses whether they'll be available for Game 1 vs. the Warriors pic.twitter.com/3v5AyS3a3L— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) May 31, 2022
Rob is alright, he’s good. He felt good, his minutes were low. Only played 14 in that game. We tried to keep him in the lower portion if we could. Obviously, that’s beneficial for him going forward, but the days off as well. So, he should feel better in general. Getting looked at today and will continue to get his treatment and rehab in order to get swelling down and some of the pain and mobility back.
Williams only saw 14:42 of action in Game 7 and has averaged just 21.4 minutes throughout the playoffs so far. That isn’t likely to change, either, as Udoka noted that Williams is still “day-to-day” moving forward.
It’s going to be an ongoing thing. Like I mentioned, he’s day-to-day, pretty much throughout the playoffs. Should feel better with time in between, especially with these two days off in between games, as opposed to playing every other day.”
The Finals schedule is littered with extra rest should help Williams in the process of getting back to his normal self.
I think we’ve, going back to the Milwaukee series, we had played 17 days straight every other day, so that’s going to take a toll on you coming off of surgery. If we can keep his minutes down and get him back to feeling better, obviously that will benefit us moving forward.
Marcus Smart has also been playing through an injury as of late, as he sprained his ankle during the Bucks series. However, Udoka’s update on Smart was much more brief, telling the media that Smart is good to go and that there’s “no concern.”
Marcus, there’s no concern about that. The swelling is what it is and that’ll dissipate as time goes by. And the pain tolerance thing, he can obviously play through a lot, and he did that and played heavy minutes.
In addition to injury updates, Udoka doubled down on the mentality he had after Boston’s Game 7 win. He understands the importance of winning in Boston and said that the team does as well. They want to win a championship, and although they enjoyed their moment of success on Sunday night, they’re back to focusing on the bigger picture.
We’re not hanging a banner here for that. We enjoyed things that night and had fun. But that night, guys were already talking about what’s next. This isn’t what we came to do. There’s still work to be done.
Nobody on the Celtics’ roster has ever been to the NBA Finals. A few members of Boston’s staff have, and Udoka said that they were telling everybody what to expect in terms of coverage. But despite the lack of experience, Udoka said that they are ready for the moment.
I don’t think any of our guys are awed or intimidated by the moment at all. We understand what it is, we know the opponent in front of us, and for us, as always, this year, it’s been business as usual, going on the road, not fazed by that at all.
Game 1 of the NBA Finals will take place on Thursday, June 2 at 9:00 p.m. EST.