Celtics center Robert Williams missed Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Heat on Saturday due to left knee soreness. Williams was listed as questionable on the injury report earlier Saturday.
The center underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus on his left knee on March 30 and returned April 23, midway through the opening-round series against the Nets. He played in the first three games of the conference semifinals against the Bucks before missing the final four due to a bone bruise on the knee.
“He’s seven weeks post-op right now and two weeks since the bone bruise happened, and that kind of brought it back up,” coach Ime Udoka said. “Obviously he had to miss some games due to that, and now with the every-other-day games, he’s not getting the rest he initially got with those three-day breaks. So some natural soreness and swelling this soon after surgery would occur, but taking that hit didn’t help it for sure.”
Williams averaged 11.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks the first two games against Miami.
Udoka said Daniel Theis would start in place of Williams. It was a slightly surprising decision considering how well Grant Williams played starting in place of Robert Williams against Milwaukee, and Boston went on a big run in its Game 2 win over the Heat soon after Grant Williams checked in for Robert Williams.
“We like our size always and we’ve done that well this year,” Udoka said. “Kind of puts Grant back in his role, even though he’s done both this year, as well. And matchup-wise and scheme and schematically, what we want to do and the way we want to start, Daniel benefits us, and we let Al [Horford] kind of keep his role that he would with Rob.”
Theis had 2 points and a rebound in six minutes in Game 2. He started six games when Robert Williams was sidelined due to knee surgery last month.
Quite the experience
Celtics guard Derrick White and his wife, Hannah, knew things could get a bit complicated when the couple’s first child, Hendrix James White, was due during the NBA playoffs. They intended to induce labor between games of these conference finals, but their son had other plans.
On Thursday morning, prior to Game 2 in Miami, White received word that his wife was probably going into labor.
“Once I found out she was in labor, I just tried to get that first flight out. I missed one, which would have got me there earlier, but finally got on one and was just texting with her mom the whole time while she eventually gave birth to our son,” White said. “And it was just a special feeling. I wasn’t there, but even just getting pictures and videos and all that on the plane, it was just special and he’s already changed our life, so it’s been crazy. And then just sitting with him, watching the game, cheering us on from home, so it was cool. And just one of those moments that I’ll have forever.”
White said he missed the birth by a couple of hours. He said his wife wanted to try to wait for him, but he didn’t want that.
“Really just them both being healthy and safe was all that mattered to me,” he said.
Hendrix certainly has an unusual first name, but it’s somewhat common within the Celtics family. Robert Williams named his newborn son Hendrix Rome Williams in January.
“We picked it before I got traded [to Boston in February],” White said. “And then I was like, ‘Yeah, it’s kind of unique, we don’t know anybody with that name.’ There’s a lot of other reasons. And then I get traded here and like the first couple weeks someone’s like, ‘Oh, that’s what Rob named his kid.’ I was like, we really named it because it was kind of unique. So we’ll just be Hendrix 2.0 and we’ll go from there.”
White said he and his wife recently purchased a painting of the rock star Jimi Hendrix, and it’s now hanging outside their son’s room.