It's been a rough couple of months for the Boston Celtics. First, Jaylen Brown got upset that the Celtics included him in trade offers for Kevin Durant. Then newly signed forward Danilo Gallinari tore his ACL playing for Italy's national team. This week, the organization suspended coach Ime Udoka for a year after "substantial" violations of team rules. And now, their 24-year-old starting center, Robert Williams, will miss two to three months after knee surgery.
Williams joined the Celtics starting lineup last season and averaged 10.0 points and 9.6 rebounds per game, making an eye-popping 73.6% of his field-goal attempts (and 157 dunks). His biggest impact came on the defensive end, where he had the third-most blocks in the NBA (134) despite missing 21 games, just three blocks behind second-place Rudy Gobert. Williams also led the league in defensive rating, meaning opposing teams scored fewer points with Williams on the floor than any other NBA player.
Back on March 30, Williams had surgery to remove portions of the torn meniscus in his left knee. He returned quickly, making it back midway through the Celtics' first-round series against the Brooklyn Nets. But due to persistent swelling and soreness, Williams missed the final four games of the Celtics series against the Milwaukee Bucks, and another game against the Heat in the conference finals. The Celtics' medical staff insisted he couldn't make the injury worse by playing on it, so he suited up for all six games of the Celtics' Finals loss.
Now, it seems like Williams did make the injury worse, just like when Isiah Thomas played through a hip injury in the 2017 playoffs, and for his trouble, got traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers that summer. He's never been the same.
The team says the surgery was done to "remove loose bodies and address swelling," and if all goes well, Williams could be manning the pivot for the Celtics by Thanksgiving. However, they might want to err on the side of caution, considering what happened the last time they tried to rush Williams back.