The Boston Celtics’ star center, Robert Williams III, will miss between four and six weeks of play following surgery to repair his meniscus. This means he could be back in time for the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.
However, the Celtics will have to retool their defense without Williams’ steadfast presence on the court. “There are some [operations] that keep you out longer than others,” Celtics coach Ime Udoka told reporters Monday. “We’re hoping for the best.”
Thankfully, the Celtics announced that Williams’ meniscectomy Wednesday morning at New England Baptist Hospital went well, and he’s expected to make a full recovery. He suffered a tear in his meniscus Sunday night during Boston’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Boston ran away with that contest, winning 134-112, bringing them to a sterling 47-28 season.
Boston is only one game out of first place with only six regular-season contests remaining before the playoffs. Williams helped catapult the Celtics to their current winning streak with his dauntless defense, making the team one of the NBA’s most dominant organizations. The team will miss his presence on the court, but their playoff spot is already secured.
If the Celtics can navigate the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs without Williams, they’ll be in a strong position to capitalize on his return in mid-May. Williams is the only player to hold opponents under 40% shooting this season, making him the number one defensive player in the NBA right now. His unbreakable wall around the basket has propelled the Celtics to the best record in the NBA over the past two months.
The 24-year-old center is an emerging star in the NBA. He just signed a four-year, $52 million extension to his contract with Boston, so fans can expect to continue seeing him dominate the court in the TD Garden for years to come.
He’s averaged 10 points and 9.6 rebounds per game, but his most impressive stats come from the other side of the court. His ability to destabilize opponents’ drives to the hole is unparalleled in the modern game.
Now, the Celtics face the end of regular season play without their defensive center. This will be an interesting test for the dominant team. Can they stay relevant for a month while Williams heals? If they can hang in there throughout April, the cavalry is on the way.