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Celtics notebook

Celtics’ Robert Williams undergoes surgery for torn meniscus, will likely miss 4-6 weeks

Robert Williams suffered a torn meniscus on Sunday against the Timberwolves.Steven Senne/Associated Press

Celtics center Robert Williams on Wednesday underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee and will likely be sidelined for 4-6 weeks.

Coach Ime Udoka said that Williams avoided a longer absence when it was determined that surgeons could simply remove a piece of Williams’s meniscus rather than repair it.

“Obviously better to have the option that he did versus being out long-term,” Udoka said. “You look at that 4-6-week window and look at cases in the past and how fast guys can come back. So, he’ll hit the ground running pretty much tomorrow and try to get some two-a-day work in and try to ramp it up from there.”

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It’s an encouraging result for Boston’s big man, who could return during the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. There was some concern within the organization that he could have been ruled out for the season.

Williams, who has dealt with a series of injuries throughout his four-year career, was injured during the second half of the win over the Timberwolves on Sunday. The big man has been a key cog in the NBA’s most dominant starting lineup this season, averaging 10 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks per game.

Still, Williams’s absence could affect Boston’s push for the top seed in the Eastern Conference over the final two weeks of the regular season. The Celtics lost to the Heat Wednesday night to fall two games behind first-place Miami in the East.

Miami's Dewayne Dedmon scores over Daniel Theis during the third quarter of Wednesday's game at TD Garden.Matthew J Lee/Globe staff

With Williams out, backup center Daniel Theis, who was acquired in a trade with the Rockets last month, will have his role expanded. Also, Udoka likely will lean on smaller lineups that feature third-year forward Grant Williams, who started in place of Robert Williams against the Heat and had 4 points and three rebounds in 26 minutes. Al Horford, who missed the last two games because of personal reasons, returned to the starting lineup and finished with 6 points and 15 rebounds.

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Hauser seizes opportunity

The Celtics agreed to a two-way contract with undrafted free agent Sam Hauser before the Las Vegas Summer League even began last August. And so far, the situation has turned out well for the sharpshooter.

The Celtics had five open roster spots after they made several deals prior to the Feb. 10 trade deadline, and Hauser filled one of the openings when his contract was converted into a full NBA deal. On Monday, with Horford, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Robert Williams sidelined against the Raptors, Hauser stepped in and registered 10 points and five rebounds in 21 minutes in Boston’s overtime loss.

“I think the adjustment has gone pretty well so far,” Hauser said. “I mean, early in the year it was a lot of travel back and forth between here and the G League, so that was a little exhausting at times. But I’m glad that I was able to earn a contract and be up here more and be around this group because we’ve got a winning culture here. And there’s a lot of veteran guys that I can learn from and just try to be a sponge and take mental notes when I can.”

Teammate award finalist

Grant Williams is one of 12 finalists for the Twyman Stokes Teammate of the Year Award, which recognizes the player deemed the best teammate based on selfless play, leadership as a mentor and role model, and commitment to the team.

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Adam Himmelsbach can be reached at adam.himmelsbach@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @adamhimmelsbach.