Bucks Celtics Basketball

Celtics center Robert Williams III has been dealing with a knee injury during the playoffs. The extra time off during the NBA Finals should help. Charles Krupa/Associated Press

Celtics center Robert Williams labored with a sore knee in Boston’s win over Miami in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals. However, Coach Ime Udoka was upbeat about the big man’s status for the NBA Finals matchup against the Golden State Warriors, which begins on Thursday night in San Francisco.

“Rob’s all right,” Udoka said Tuesday. “He felt good. His minutes were low. He only played 14 in that game so we tried to keep him in the lower portion if we could. Obviously, that’s beneficial for him going forward but the days off as well so he should feel better in general.

“Getting looked at today, will continue to get his treatment and his rehab in order to get swelling down and some of the mobility back. It’s going to be an ongoing thing. He’s day-to-day throughout the playoffs.”

Williams is dealing with a bone bruise in his knee suffered in Round 2 along with the lingering effects of surgery to repair a torn meniscus in April. Those ailments have forced Williams to miss seven postseason games, including Game 3 of the series against the Bucks.

However, a lighter schedule during the NBA Finals could bode well for Williams. There will be two days off in between games for the entire series (except Games 3 and 4). That time off combined with a three-day break before the Finals begin gives Udoka optimism about Williams’ status.

“He should feel better with time in between, especially with the two days off in between games as opposed to playing every other day,” Udoka said. “Going back to the Milwaukee series, we played 17 days straight every other day so that’s going to take a toll on you coming off of surgery. We’ll keep his minutes down and get him back to feeling better. That will benefit us going forward.”


The Celtics and Warriors tip off Game 1 of the NBA Finals at Chase Center at 9 p.m. Thursday. Boston will release their official injury report on Wednesday.

THE REST SHOULD also help Marcus Smart, who dealt with a sprained ankle, as well as other issues.

“There’s no concern about that,” Udoka said. “The swelling is what it is. That’ll dissipate as time goes by. The pain tolerance thing, he can play through a lot and he did that and played heavy minutes.”

Smart’s been hurt throughout the playoffs as multiple injuries have sidelined him. He missed Game 2 against the Bucks because of a thigh contusion and sat out Game 1 against the Heat due to a mid-foot sprain. He also missed Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals because of the ankle sprain, which he suffered in the Game 3 loss to Miami.

But Smart’s played through different injuries, which is why Udoka wasn’t worried about Smart going forward.

The Celtics will need a healthy, effective Smart against the Warriors in the finals. The defensive player of the year is crucial for Boston’s defense, and he’ll likely be matched up against Stephen Curry.

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