addByline("Taylor C. Snow", "Celtics.com", "taylorcsnow");
KINGSTON, Mass. – A case of knee tendonitis is preventing Robert Williams from partaking in 5-on-5 competition during the waning weeks of summer, but the Celtics rookie is doing everything in his power to get back to full health by the time training camp commences in late September.
Williams, whose Summer League session was cut short by the injury, has been putting in early-morning workouts over the past few weeks at the team’s practice facility in Brighton, working with the Celtics’ trainers and coaches to fortify both his body and mind.
“I’m strengthening places I need to strengthen,” Williams said Wednesday afternoon during an Arbella Home Court Makeover unveiling in Kingston, Massachusetts. “Obviously my knee, obviously knowing what’s going on out there on the court, knowing the calls before (coach Brad Stevens) throws me in a 5-on-5 game. He’s been teaching me the past couple days, just hammering in the calls, all the play names, all the nicknames for things, so it’s just been a great perspective, a great opportunity.”
Williams lauded Stevens’ active approach, noting that the coach even joined him for a bike-conditioning workout Wednesday morning.
“He's one of the most hands-on coaches I've ever worked with," said Williams. “[All of] the coaches have been hands-on, on and off the court. But on the court, just stuff like getting out of screens faster, knowing calls. If I’m ICE’ing, get down right away. Just put me up to speed for when training camp does start to roll in so I know what’s going on.”
Williams has been a mainstay at the Auerbach Center this summer, showing up at 8 a.m. to work out. Maintaining a stable schedule, he says, is something that he’s learned from fellow frontcourt mates Aron Baynes and Al Horford, both of whom often show up to the practice facility at 6 a.m.
“Just seeing that exact same repetition, that same consistency every day, I’ve learned a lot from them already,” Williams said.
Williams has also made a solid impression on his teammates over the course of the summer. Baynes told Celtics.com Tuesday afternoon that he’s liked the work ethic he’s seen from the rookie so far.
“He’s definitely got a few attributes that are going to help the team,” said Baynes. “And he’s definitely got an exciting future.”
Building toward that bright future will be a process, but Williams is clearly ready to put in the work to make it happen.
“You have to go through the boring days, as people call them,” said Williams. “You have to go through everything that you wouldn’t expect to go through to get where you want to be.”
Although his first NBA offseason hasn’t gone completely as planned in regard to his health, Williams is still making the most out of the hand he’s been dealt. He’s developing a professional mindset and learning the ropes of the Celtics system, all while getting his body ready for his first NBA grind.
“Injuries happen to everyone,” said Williams. “It’s just a minor setback, as my dad would call it, but just gotta give it 100 percent. Every day that you give 100 percent, you get closer and closer to being back on the court.”
With that attitude, Williams should be cleared for 5-on-5 action in no time.