Robert Williams Details Knee Recovery, Expectations For Game 5 Availability

Williams finished with 12 points and nine boards in Game 4

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Robert Williams provided the spark the Boston Celtics needed in Game 4.

The Celtics big man returned to the starting lineup against the Miami Heat on Monday and gave Boston 19 impactful minutes, as the hosts evened up the Eastern Conference finals at two games apiece.

Williams, who missed Game 3 on Saturday due to lingering knee soreness, was on the floor during the initial 5:16 as the Celtics ran out to a 12-1 lead over Miami. The Heat were held without a field goal for the opening 8:38, as Boston took a 18-1 advantage and never looked back.

“Obviously, great feeling being out there and being back with my guys,” Williams said after Boston’s 102-82 victory at TD Garden, as seen on NBC Sports Boston’s postgame coverage.

“The knee feels great, feels good,” he continued. “Obviously just check on it tomorrow, see how it’s feeling recovery-wise.”

Williams, as Celtics head coach Ime Udoka previously expressed, confirmed he’s been dealing with swelling and soreness more than pain. Udoka previously shared it’s due to a bone bruise rather than a direct impact from Williams’ surgery on his torn meniscus. The high-flying center missed the start of Boston’s first-round playoff series and the final four games of the conference semifinals.

He returned at the start of the conference finals and played 28 and 20 minutes during Games 1 and 2, respectively

“It’s just swelling a little bit, stiffening up on me a little,” Williams said. “Taking it day by day. Spending a lot of time with the trainers, obviously, throwing a lot of scenarios at it and see how I respond.”

Williams did not know whether travel impacted the swelling but shared it was not merely a pain-tolerance issue.

“Not necessarily pain tolerance because once you have an injury it’s rare that you feel no pain,” Williams said. “So it’s just reading if I’m limited to doing certain things. I don’t want to have a lot of limitations when I’m out there.”

The fact that Williams was limited to just 19 minutes Monday, in large part because the Celtics were leading by 31 points when he exited the game with 7:26 left in the third quarter, can be viewed positively for Boston. They did not overexert Williams in order to win a pivotal contest.

The Celtics will return to the floor Wednesday for Game 5 in Miami. Williams is cautiously optimistic he’ll be able to give it a go.

“We usually wait until the next day to see if there’s swelling or anything,” Williams said. “Coming out of this game, no doubts in my head. I feel good playing.”

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