Saturday, July 2, 2022

Celtics’ Robert Williams III details playing through knee injury during NBA playoffs: ‘It gets to me a lot’

One thing that can’t be questioned is the toughness of Boston Celtics center Robert Williams III. Williams returned to postseason game action for the Celtics in April, just under a month after undergoing surgery on a meniscus in his left knee. Since then, he has been playing through consistent pain in his knee in order to be out on the floor for the Celtics and provide them with a reliable presence at the rim on both ends as they fight for the 2022 NBA title.

Williams’ playing time is slightly down compared to the regular season — he’s played 22.6 minutes per game in the playoffs compared to 29.6 during the regular season — but he has still been able to make an impact, and he’s a big part of the reason why the Celtics have been able to advance as far as they have. He’s averaged 10 rebounds per game over the last three games, while also serving as a major deterrent to drivers on Golden State. 

“I honestly take it day-by-day,” Williams said of his health, via Chris Haynes. “I can be feeling good right now, and then the next couple of hours it’s pretty sore. I try to take it day-by-day as much as I can. It gets to me a lot. It’s hard to deal with. When I’m out there, the adrenaline and energy takes over so I don’t really think about it during games, but it for sure gets to me a lot.”  

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To be available for his team, Williams has had his knee drained repeatedly during the playoffs, though he stopped having that done because the knee just continued to fill up with fluid, so he thought there was “no point” in continuing to get it drained. Williams has also gone through a variety of other treatments. “Icing, deep tissue massages, treatment, wait three or four hours and then start the process all over again until [it’s time to sleep],” Williams said. “Usually that same routine. Maybe a little BFR [blood flow restriction training] here and there, but usually that same ritual.”  

Boston’s medical staff has assured Williams that he is not at risk of further injury to his repaired knee by playing on it, so it’s all just a matter of his ability to tolerate pain. And while it certainly hasn’t been easy for Williams, he’s tried to set the tone for his team by being available. 

“We’re trying to win,” Williams told Yahoo. “It’s crazy. I’m living my dream right now. Obviously, it would be way better if we win, but my whole thing is accountability for my team. Letting them know I’m here through whatever, and hopefully, the message is relayed to everyone else.”  

Only time will tell if Williams’ toughness will be enough to help lift the Celtics to their first title since 2008, but it’s commendable nonetheless. 

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