Nearly 24 hours later Robert Williams could laugh about his latest injury, but the Boston Celtics center was doing no such thing in the moment.
In Boston’s Game 1 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday, Williams took an errant kick to a delicate spot in the groin area on a drive from Giannis Antetokounmpo midway through the third quarter. Williams tried to push through as play resumed, but he keeled over in pain several times.
Once play finally stopped nearly a minute later, the Celtics training staff came out to midcourt to look at him. Williams already knew the reason for his discomfort and he detailed a comical exchange he had with the training staff on why he didn’t need further evaluation.
“The trainers were saying, ‘Let’s go to the back. We got to check it out,'” Williams told reporters on Monday, per NBC Sports Boston. “I’m like, ‘Check out what?’ You know what I’m saying. I’m like, ‘Check out what?’ But it’s a stinger, man. It’s nothing.”
Given Williams’ injury history, it’s no surprise the Celtics’ training staff wanted to be cautious with Williams. But as Williams explained, he only needed a little bit of time to recover.
“I needed like a minute,” Williams said. “I ain’t going to lie, I needed a minute. Just let the pain process, but it’s nothing.”
Williams, who returned for the final two games of Boston’s first-round series with the Brooklyn Nets after having meniscus surgery in late March, looked more like his freakishly athletic self against the Bucks. Williams played 22 minutes — his most time on the court since coming back from injury — and totaled six points, eight rebounds and three blocks.
“I feel like I’m back,” Williams said. “Feeling like my normal self out there speed-wise, moving around. Thankfully the adrenaline in the game takes away mentally thinking about it.”