LAS VEGAS — Celtics rookie Robert Williams on Tuesday confirmed that he has played through an artery condition in his legs that can cause cramping and calf pain, but he said the issue has dissipated recently and is not a major concern moving forward.
“Yeah, it was just a time-to-time thing,” Williams told the Globe. “I haven’t been dealing with it for a while really. The last time was in the middle of my college season last year.”
MassLive.com, citing an anonymous source, on Monday first reported Williams’s condition, which is known as popliteal artery entrapment syndrome, or PAES. Williams, who was drafted 27th overall by the Celtics last month, said that NBA teams were aware of his issue and that it came up frequently during the pre-draft process.
“Definitely, they asked me about it,” he said. “Every team is supposed to have concerns about what they’re investing money in, and I tell them it’s under control. I’ve been playing with it for two years in college and playing pretty well. It starts like a little burning sensation and then it’ll just cramp up. It goes away though. I play through it.”
Williams said that when pain sprouted while he was at Texas A&M, it was treated with acupuncture, massage, and rest. He said acupuncture was a particularly effective course of action.
“It’s something that can affect me over time, but doctors said I’m clear now,” Williams said. “Obviously when I’m done playing basketball I might look into a surgery and make sure everything is good, but for right now I’m good.”
PAES is most common in athletes and it is caused by tendons and muscles around the knee entrapping the primary artery behind the knee, slowing blood flow to the lower leg.
Williams, who has missed the Celtics’ last two summer league games with a knee contusion, was expected to take part in portions of Tuesday’s practice. His status for the team’s upcoming opening-round summer league playoff game is unclear.
“Anyone would want to be out there playing right now,” Williams said. “It’s tough as hell to just watch my team play and not be able to play. But you’ve got to support them in any way possible.”
Williams said he is aware of the buzz that surrounded his arrival with the Celtics, and the high-flying, shot-blocking big man hopes he is able to finally put his talents on display soon.
“Boston is a crazy place, especially the fan base,” Williams said. “I’m definitely ready to give them what they’ve been waiting for.”