Please assign a menu to the primary menu location under menu


Celtics’ Rob Williams gives encouraging update on recovery, has returned to court: ‘I’m stepping it up’

NEW YORK — Just more than an hour before tip-off Saturday night at Madison Square Garden, a surprise visitor entered the Celtics’ locker room: A smiling Robert Williams walked in, and he was radiating with good vibes.

Six weeks removed from having left knee surgery that’s forcing him out of the opening months of the season, Williams seems to be on schedule. Williams had the operation on Sept. 23 and was given a window of 8-12 weeks to return to basketball activities. He revealed Saturday that he’s been gotten back on the court for workouts recently and he’s raising his intensity as he prepares for his eventual return. He’s even started dunking again.

“I’m stepping it up,” Williams said when asked what he’s been able to do. “Really anything. They just try to hold me (back from) being a little too explosive sometimes, take my time with it. But pick and rolls, running the court, really doing a lot.”

“It feels great,” he added.” Just getting back on the court to be honest, man. It felt great.”

Williams didn’t say when he expects to return, but said he’s happy there have been no setbacks in his rehab.. He had had a PRP injection last month to help promote his healing.

“There’s windows, just looking to hit checkmarks,” Williams said. “Once I get that out of the way, hopefully get back out there.”

What are his next steps?

“Just increasing the load on everything,” Williams said. “Seeing how the knee reacts. Hitting checkmarks they have set up for me.”

Williams reaggravated his left knee injury in the weeks before training camp as he started ramping up for the season. He admitted there’s some uneasiness as he returns to the court.

“You’re always kind of nervous, but that’s kind of why they gave me a window,” Williams said. “Just in case we try something and there is a setback, you’ve got time to deal with it.”

But so far, so good. And even though a return is not imminent, Williams traveling with the team on the road is another important step and benchmark in the process.

“These are my teammates,” Williams said. “I need them just like they need me. So I felt like it was just good for me to get back in rhythm coming on the road.”

Horford misses another back-to-back

Before the season started, Al Horford said he had prepared his body to play in back-to-backs this season and expected to be in them. But Horford still hasn’t played in one this season. The 36-year-old veteran, who played 40 minutes in Wednesday’s overtime loss to the Cavaliers and then 33 minutes in Friday’s win over the Bulls, was out Saturday against the Knicks due to low back tightness. Celtics interim coach Joe Mazzulla had said Friday that the plan was for Horford to play but those plans changed after his heavy workload this week and feeling discomfort.

Horford has now missed the second leg of both of the Celtics’ back-to-backs this season. He also missed their Oct. 22 win over the Magic with low back tightness.

“Just being careful coming off the overtime game,” Celtics interim coach Joe Mazzulla said. “A lot of minutes last game. Just being cautious.”

After the longest season of his NBA career as the Celtics made their run to the NBA Finals in June, Horford is logging 31.4 minutes per game so far this season in the absence of Williams. Mazzulla said Friday that he’s comfortable with that number.

First impressions

Though Mazzulla is a first-time head coach and still getting to know other coaches around the league, he has some familiarity with Knicks coach and former Celtics assistant Tom Thibodeau. Mazzulla said he spent some time with Thibodeau a few years ago and was appreciative of his time and coaching insight.

“He’s been great,” Mazzulla said. “Early in my career, he spent a lot of time at the facility a few years ago. Just his experience. He’s obviously a great teacher of the game. He’s obviously a guy that has a standard and it was really cool learning from him, what he learned before his break getting a job. What worked, what didn’t work and kind of what his new perspective is. I’m grateful he was able to give that to me.”

Thibodeau has liked what he’s seen from Mazzulla and the Celtics.

“I think their experience has taught them a lot,” Thibodeau said. “Their willingness to share the ball, the way they’re running the floor, they’re making plays for each other, put a lot of pressure on you. I think when Robert Williams comes back, they have a great defense also. They’ve done a terrific job. Joe has been there for a while, I’ve been around him, I’ve been very impressed with him. That organization is very strong from top to bottom.”

Source link