Celtics Williams Basketball

Celtics center Robert Williams III will miss 8-12 weeks after having knee surgery. Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

BOSTON — Robert Williams III is going to be out much longer than initially expected.

The Celtics announced Friday that Williams had left knee surgery to remove loose bodies and address swelling, and the center is expected to return to basketball activities in 8-12 weeks. Earlier this week, it was reported that Williams was expected to return in 4-6 weeks and only miss the early portion of the regular season, which begins on Oct. 18.

Williams’ procedure was performed by Celtics team physician Dr. Tony Schena at New England Baptist Hospital.

It was the second surgery on Williams’ left knee in the last six months. He had surgery at the end of March to repair a torn meniscus, which ultimately kept him out less than a month as he returned for Game 3 of Boston’s first-round series win over the Brooklyn Nets. Williams then played through pain on the Celtics’ run to the NBA Finals.

The Celtics also announced Friday that Danilo Gallinari had surgery on the torn ACL in his left knee, which he suffered in August while playing for the Italian national team. The team said that updates on Gallinari’s recovery will be provided as appropriate, but it’s likely the forward – who signed a two-year deal with the Celtics as a free agent this summer – will miss at least most of the season.

Williams’ latest surgery – which will likely keep him out at least through November – coupled with Gallinari’s injury makes the Celtics thin in the frontcourt, at least to start the season. Al Horford and Grant Williams are the only healthy bigs who are on guaranteed contracts returning from last season. Luke Kornet and Mfiondu Kabengele will be among those battling for backup spots when camp opens next week.

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