Huge blow for the Boston Celtics tonight as they get ready for a crucial Game 4 against the Milwaukee Bucks – Robert Williams has been ruled out with left knee soreness.
#NEBHInjuryReport update:— Boston Celtics (@celtics) May 9, 2022
Robert Williams (left knee soreness) - OUT
Rob Williams wasn’t listed on yesterday’s injury report (which only featured Sam Hauser and his shoulder injury), so this is a newer development. Williams previously missed four weeks with a meniscus tear in this same left knee, so this is a little bit concerning both for tonight’s game as well as the series (and playoffs moving forward).
Williams has uncharacteristically been unable to contain Giannis Antetokounmpo even slightly in ISO situations, so perhaps the left knee soreness hampered his movement a little bit. That’s just speculation, but prioritizing his knee health is in the best interests of the team and Williams in both the short and long term.
This leaves the Celtics seeking answers on how to handle a 2-1 deficit to avoid going down 3-1. On the bright side, Williams hasn’t been the best Williams on the team so far this series as Grant Williams has stepped tremendously on both ends. Particularly with his defense on Giannis Antetokounmpo, Grant Williams has been dependable and has found himself on the floor in crunch time.
Williams’ injury opens up opportunity for Daniel Theis to creep back into the rotation. After a rough Game 1, Theis was removed from the rotation for Boston’s Game 2 win. He briefly entered Game 3, but he’s set up to have more extended time tonight on the floor. That said, Ime Udoka will prioritize Grant Williams’ defense on Giannis right from the tip since he’ll be inserted into the starting lineup next to Al Horford.
Thankfully, Rob Williams’ injury doesn’t seem to be a long-term problem. Ime Udoka noted that he’s expected to play on Wednesday.
Ime Udoka said Rob Williams' knee soreness was not unexpected after his return from surgery.— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) May 9, 2022
Udoka said that the Celtics expect Williams will be able to play in Game 5.
The Celtics will tip off against the Bucks tonight at 7:30 p.m. EST to attempt to tie the series 2-2 before heading back to Boston for Game 3.