CHICAGO — Celtics coach Ime Udoka said before Wednesday night’s 117-94 win over the Bulls that injured center Robert Williams, who is expected to miss 4-6 weeks after undergoing surgery on the torn meniscus in his left knee, has not been ruled out for the first round of the playoffs, although the team is proceeding as if it will not have the fourth-year big man.
“We haven’t looked at him being here for the first round,” Udoka said. “Honestly, 4-6 [week] time frame is what it is and everybody kind of reacts differently to surgeries. But if possible, you know, we haven’t really ruled him out obviously, being if he’s ready. But we’re going in with the mind-set that he won’t be there for the first round.”
Williams suffered the injury during Boston’s March 27 win over the Timberwolves and his timeline was announced after he underwent surgery a week ago. The playoffs start April 16.
Udoka said Williams stayed in Boston to continue his rehab rather than joining the team on this three-game trip against the Bulls, Bucks, and Grizzlies.
“Immediately pretty much started the mobility, flexibility standpoint, and then weight bearing and different exercises as far as that,” Udoka said. “But two-a-days will ramp up pretty quickly. We left him back in Boston to expedite the process, although he could have done it here. He’s a guy that’s locked in with the guys and so I felt it was better to leave him back there and get the process rolling as fast as possible. But like I said, he’s in good spirits. He’s attacking it with the right mind-set and I look forward to having him back sooner than later.”
Williams, 24, is averaging 10 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks per game, and has emerged as a potential NBA All-Defense selection.
Mike Gorman in the house
Longtime NBC Sports Boston play-by-play announcer Mike Gorman called his first in-person road game of the season. Gorman, 73, had called most road games from the station’s Needham studio, mostly because of travel concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“That gets old, and I don’t think people understand how hard that is to do, because you don’t have any control on what you’re going to see,” Gorman said. “You’re taking a feed from somebody else. So I never know when I look at the screen what’s going to happen next, whereas when I work with my guys, I always know what’s going to happen next. That’s hard. No. 2 is even though we have 60-inch monitors we work off of, it’s still hard when there’s a foul and you look to see if the official puts up their hand and says who’s got it. Now you don’t see any of that, so you have to wait. The whole rhythm gets kind of thrown off.
“But I’m not complaining. It was my choice. I’m 73 years old and it was not a good time to be going out on the road if you’re my age and it just didn’t make any sense to me to do that. It still doesn’t make a lot of sense. I don’t have any regrets about the decision [to call games remotely].”
NBC Sports Boston will broadcast the first round of the playoffs, and Gorman said he plans to travel for that entire series.
Ready to go
Jayson Tatum (knee), Jaylen Brown (knee), and Al Horford (back) were all cleared to play Chicago after being listed as probable on the injury report.