Ainge Explains Reasoning Behind Williams' Slow Rehab

BOSTON – Danny Ainge said Wednesday afternoon that the Boston Celtics are moving slowly with regard to the rehabilitation of knee tendinitis for rookie Robert Williams.


“Because we can,” Ainge said.

Ainge’s subtle allusion to Boston’s incredible roster depth gives an indication that Williams may not play all too much during the preseason, although the rookie did say on Media Day that he will be ready for the team’s preseason opener Friday night in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Ainge said that the team learned a lot about the rehabilitation of knee tendinitis through another one of its young players, Terry Rozier.

“When we drafted Terry Rozier (in 2015), he had some tendinitis issues in his knees,” Ainge explained. “I think our medical staff has done an amazing job. He missed zero practices and zero games last year in the regular season and Playoffs. We’re trying to do the same thing with Robert.”

Ainge commented that Williams played through “much, much more pain” during his two college seasons at Texas A&M than he’s currently experiencing during training camp. The Celtics want to be certain, however, that his progress is long-term and not short-lived.

Until then, the Boston is willing and able to take the 6-foot-10, shot-blocking big man’s rehab at a slow pace. Williams participated in drills during Tuesday’s opening day of training camp, but according to coach Brad Stevens, the rookie was held out of the team’s scrimmage sessions.

Soon enough, such will not be the case. He will return to full health, and when that happens, he’ll be unleashed to log significant playing time one way or another.

“Obviously once we get him really healthy,” said Ainge, “we’ll get him as much experience as we can, either here or in Portland (with the Maine Red Claws of the NBA G-League).”

Williams was drafted 27th overall by the Celtics during June’s NBA Draft. He averaged 11.1 points, 8.7 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game during two seasons at Texas A&M and was twice named the SEC’s Defensive Player of the Year. Due to pain in his left knee, Williams was limited to only seven minutes during July’s Las Vegas Summer League.


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