Robert Williams’ injury timeline is longer than expected after surgery


Williams will miss at least 8 to 12 weeks after surgery.

Robert Williams will be out for a while. AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, file

The Celtics will be without one of their starters at the start of the upcoming season.

Center Robert Williams will not participate in basketball activities for 8 to 12 weeks after undergoing successful arthroscopic surgery to remove loose bodies and treat swelling in his left knee, the Celtics announced Friday. The operation was performed by Celtics team physician Dr. Tony Schena of New England Baptist Hospital.

It was reported earlier in the week that Williams would only miss 4-6 weeks due to the procedure. Instead of only missing training camp and preseason, the new schedule likely rules out Williams for the first month of the regular season, which begins Oct. 18.

The knee Williams underwent surgery on Friday is the same knee he suffered a torn meniscus in March. The injury forced Williams to miss about a month before returning for Game 3 of the Celtics’ first-round series against the Nets. He missed five games in the next two playoffs with left knee pain and was visibly hobbled on points in the NBA Finals.

Williams was a revelation for the Celtics last season, averaging 10.0 points, 9.6 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 2.0 blocks per game, and played a key role on the team having one of the best statistical defenses in recent history.

With Williams out, the Celtics have slim choices in terms of big-man depth. Al Horford will likely take on all starting center duties, but after Daniel Theis was traded in the offseason, Boston has only Luke Kornet, Mfiondu Kabengele and Noah Vonleh at pace as backup centers. Grant Williams also has experience as a short-ball center but didn’t play that role much last season.

Even with the shallow depth at the big man position, Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens likes what his team has, although he’s open to possible additions.

“We go back and forth on this,” Stevens said. The Boston Globes Gary Washburn on Wednesday. “We don’t want to overreact to Rob’s [injury] just because it’s a short term thing here. We feel good about some of the guys who have been in the gym for the past few weeks. We’ve had a bunch of guys, a lot of guys who have been added to the roster recently.

“I’ve been impressed with some of these guys who are in needy positions and so we’ll see how that plays out.”

Celtics forward Danilo Gallinari also underwent surgery for his torn ACL on Friday. No timeline for his return was given, with the team stating that “further updates regarding Gallinari’s recovery will be provided as appropriate.”


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