Sunday, November 27, 2022

Celtics get encouraging update on Robert Williams return

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The Boston Celtics are closing in on the return of Robert Williams. according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

On a Nov. 23 episode of ESPN’s NBA Countdown, Wojnarowski shared some information on when Celtics fans can expect their defensive anchor to return to the rotation after missing the start of the season when he moved away from recovered from an operation.

“Robert Williams who had left knee surgery two months ago today. His agent, Kevin Bradbury, told me tonight that he expects Robert Williams to be back by Christmas. That gives him another month here, he’s making good progress in his rehab. And listen, this is a player who has had two surgeries in the last calendar year, he sure wants to take his time. Even without him, this is a team with the best record in the NBA, but they expect him to come back by Christmas,” Wojnarowski said.

Williams suffered a meniscus injury near the end of the 2021-22 regular season and underwent surgery before returning to help Boston reach the NBA Finals, but then had a second surgery last summer and is yet to prepare for the Celtics in this one Season.

According to an Eastern Conference executive, who spoke to Heavy on Sports’ Sean Deveney on condition of anonymity, the return of Robert Williams could mean Noah Vonleh being released by the Celtics if they try to close in on additional big-man help bring the close of trading.

“Robert Williams is coming back and Vonleh is, huh, your fifth big guy? However, if they want to add something, it’s probably a grand piano. That would mean Jackson is probably out. But when we get to the buyout market, when we get to the playoffs, there’s a good chance both Jackson and Vonleh will be replaced… “They’re not getting rid of Blake Griffin, they like his presence there, his experience level,” said the manager.

Vonleh has played in 12 games for the Celtics so far this season, starting one of them, and averaging 1.9 points and three rebounds per game for his team while shooting 52.6% from the field. However, if the Celtics feel they can improve their center rotation, Vonleh may be looking for a new team in the coming months.

The Celtics currently have the 17th-ranked defense in the NBA, a far cry from the league-leading defense we saw from them last season and during the playoffs. However, Williams, a 2021-22 All-Defense Second Team pick, should have a significant impact on that side of the ball upon his return.

Williams batted away an average of 2.2 shots per game last season and used his athleticism and bounce to create countless other scoring chances, giving the Celtics some leeway for mistakes in guarding the perimeter.

Of course, his vertical spacing and over-the-rim style of play will also bring a new dimension to Boston on offense, although the Celtics may have to wait a few months before they see the best version of Williams as he continues to work on his fitness to recover.

Still, the news that Williams is poised to return will be a huge boost for a Celtics team that was dominant early in the season and currently has a 14-4 record in their first 18 games.



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