NEW YORK — Celtics center Robert Williams said Saturday that he’s been completing on-court workouts for the last two weeks as he recovers from the Sept. 23 left knee surgery that was expected to sideline him for 8-12 weeks.
He accompanied the team on this road trip to face the Knicks and said he’s “feeling good” and has not had any setbacks. He has raised the intensity of his workouts over the last few days. When he was asked about specifics, he flashed a sheepish grin.
“Yeah, yeah,” the high-flying big man said, “I’m dunking.”
Williams said the training staff is mostly letting him work out without limitations, but said they want to ensure his sessions don’t get too explosive just yet.
“Just increasing the load and everything, seeing how the knee reacts,” Williams said. “Hitting checkmarks there.”
Williams tore the meniscus in his left knee last March and returned midway through Boston’s opening-round playoff series against the Nets. He appeared hobbled throughout the postseason, however, often unable to display his usual burst.
At season’s end the Celtics were confident he just needed an offseason of rest. But as he ramped up his workouts prior to training camp, pain resurfaced and he underwent the maintenance surgery.
The Celtics initially said Williams would be sidelined for 4-6 weeks before later extending the timeline to 8-12. Last month, Williams also received a platelet-rich plasma injection to accelerate the healing process. He said the longer recovery time and wider range were established in order to give him some wiggle room as he worked his way back.
“You’re always kind of nervous, but that’s kind of why they give me a window, just in case we try something and there’s a setback you’ve got time to deal with it,” Williams said.
Williams said he has tried to stay engaged while watching workouts from the sidelines.
“I yell at them sometimes in practices,” he said, smiling. “[I’m] just trying to impose the energy I bring when I’m playing.”
But he said he is most eager to just rejoin his teammates.
“It feels great just getting back on the court, to be honest, man,” Williams said. “I need them just like they need me.”
Horford tweaks back, sits
Celtics center Al Horford missed Saturday’s 133-118 win over the Knicks because of back soreness. Coach Joe Mazzulla said that after Horford played 40 minutes in Wednesday’s overtime loss to the Cavaliers and 33 in Friday’s win over the Bulls, the Celtics wanted to err on the side of caution while playing their second game in as many nights.
Mazzulla still finding his footing
Mazzulla is nine games into his first season as an NBA head coach, and he said he is continuing to learn as he goes.
“Just being patient and understanding it’s not going to be perfect,” he said. “You want to give guys room to play, and at the same time find areas where you can make an impact. Just being patient through those moments and trying to learn something every game that you can apply to the next game I think is important.”