Robert Williams III underwent a potentially major setback after just six games with the Portland Trail Blazers this season,

Williams, again, was struck with a knee injury that could sideline the 26-year-old for the entirety of the 2023-24 campaign. An obvious blow to a young Portland team undergoing its dog days, and especially frustrating for Williams who’s struggled to remain healthy and available in recent years.

Celtics guard Jaylen Brown, who played five seasons alongside Williams and watched his growth first-hand in Boston, shared a conversation between the two former teammates in the days leading up to the injury news.

“I talked to him about, maybe texted him about two days before the news kind of broke out, just telling him that I love him, see him soon, stuff like that,” Brown told reporters during Wednesday’s practice, per CLNS Media video. “So, I didn’t know if he knew (about the injury’s severity) at that time, but two days later that news comes out and I’m hoping for a speedy recovery for him.”

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Last season with the Celtics, Williams also battled the recovery process, that time, after undergoing knee surgery after Boston’s 2022 NBA Finals run. The aftermath kept Williams away from the floor for the first 29 games of his final campaign with the Celtics.

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In six games played off the bench for Portland, Williams averaged 6.8 points and 6.3 rebounds. Most notably, the former Celtics first-round draft selection explored expanding his offensive game, attempting mid-range jumpers which wasn’t an element of his game in Boston.

Through his five-year run with the C’s, Williams was molded into a homegrown defensive anchor and fan-favorite.

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“When he was here, I definitely had a friend, had a brother,” Brown added on Williams. “We were similar in mindsets. Didn’t say a lot, didn’t talk to a lot of people, but we kind of understood each other. So Rob was definitely somebody that I had a lot of respect for and was a great friend while he was here.”

Williams will undergo surgery.

Featured image via Rick Osentoski/USA TODAY Sports Images