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Robert Williams has his first full practice with Celtics since injuring his hip

Celtics center Robert Williams has been sidelined with a hip bone edema since Dec. 6.file/nic antaya for The Globe

Celtics center Robert Williams is most comfortable when he is flying through the air for dunks or soaring in and swatting an opponent’s shot into the crowd. So perhaps the hardest thing as he returns after being sidelined for nearly four months is remembering that he does not have to rush back to that point just yet.

“There’s no limitations on anything I’m doing,” he said. “I want to windmill every time I dunk, but I’ve still got to be cautious a little bit, you know what I’m saying?”

On Wednesday night, Williams took part in his first full practice since being sidelined with a hip bone edema Dec. 6. The early returns were positive.


“He looked good today,” Celtics forward Jaylen Brown said. “He had a lot of high energy and was making ridiculous plays. The important thing is to keep him healthy and keep him consistent these last 20-something games and add him to the rotation. We definitely miss him back out there.”

Williams will accompany the team on its upcoming four-game road trip, although he will not play in any of the games. Coach Brad Stevens said the individual workouts and two-on-two scrimmages over the next week will be important for him, though.

Robert Williams could return to game action as early as this month.Nic Antaya for The Boston Globe

Stevens said that after the Celtics return to Boston Feb. 27, Williams will undergo another medical exam to ensure there were no setbacks related to this increase in activity. If all is well, he is expected to be cleared to return in a game, perhaps on Feb. 29 against the Rockets.

“I’m getting anxious, knowing I’m just a couple days away,” Williams said. “But the first game back I think is a home game, so that’s pretty special for me. So I’m just staying locked in on this road trip, and we’ll all wait for my comeback.”


The return of Williams will give a boost to Boston’s frontcourt depth. Before he was injured, the second-year big man was averaging 3.9 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 14.2 minutes.

When Enes Kanter and Daniel Theis dealt with minor injuries during Williams’s absence, it left the team shallow in the middle, with 6-foot-6-inch rookie forward Grant Williams often called upon to play center.

Robert Williams said that in addition to rehabbing his injured hip, he focused on refining his play while he was out.

“Gambles, steals, knowing when to stay down, when to play my man, when to go for blocks,” he said. “That’s a big part of my game that I’ve been working on.”

Point guard Kemba Walker, who played 45 minutes in last Thursday’s double-overtime win over the Clippers before playing 30 minutes in Sunday’s All-Star Game, sat out Wednesday’s practice to rest.

Kemba Walker is averaging 21.8 points per game this season. Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff

Stevens said the team will continue to find ways to manage his playing time over the rest of the regular season. Regardless, the Celtics are essentially at full strength as they prepare for the stretch run, a rarity for this team that has been hampered by plenty of bumps and bruises.

“This is about being ready to compete,” Stevens said. “And a lot of tonight is about shaking off any rust of not only not playing for a couple of days, but more so it’s just the idea of it’s important to be able to take a step back.

“It’s important to be able to take a break. But you can’t lose your edge, and you have to know that Friday night [against the Timberwolves] it’ll hit you right between the eyes if you’re not ready. So today we did a lot of up and down, we did a lot of disadvantage situations where we had to really communicate and get out of our comfort zones, kind of get back into the competitive mode.”


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The Celtics have received a limited number of tickets to attend the memorial for Kobe Bryant at Staples Center Monday. The team was scheduled to fly to Portland Monday morning following Sunday’s game against the Lakers, but the team pushed its flight back to later in the day so players would have the option of attending the memorial.

Jayson Tatum, who was mentored by Bryant, has previously said he plans to attend. Brown on Wednesday said that he will go, too.

“That’s special,” Brown said. “It’s crazy how things line up, because it will just be great for me to be able to experience that and our team to be able to experience that. Just because we’re so thankful and humble and appreciative of what he added to the game. Any time you get the opportunity to thank the basketball gods for delivering Kobe Bryant, we’ll try to do that.”

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