Robert Williams is among the Boston Celtics' X-factors heading into the 2022 NBA Finals. When healthy, the big man is one of the C's biggest difference-makers on both ends of the floor.
The problem is Williams remains banged up heading into the series vs. the Golden State Warriors. The Celtics have listed him as questionable for Thursday night's Game 1 with soreness in his surgicially-repaired left knee, which has nagged him throughout the postseason.
The injury appeared especially bothersome during the Celtics' Game 7 win over the Miami Heat. Williams was a non-factor as he was seen limping and struggling to move laterally throughout his 15 minutes on the court.
There's a chance the C's deem Williams healthy enough to suit up for Game 1, but would it be wise to play him after seeing how he looked in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals? Our Brian Scalabrine doesn't think so.
"I don't get it. I think he should sit out Game 1," Scalabrine said Wednesday on NBC Sports Boston's NBA Finals special. "He was trucking in Game 7. Like, he shouldn't have been out there in Game 7. If you're visibly limping, then I don't know, man. I get it because it's Game 7 and you want to go out there and play, but just take the week off. ... It's probably best for him to get as much time as he possibly can."
Chris Forsberg believes Williams is a key to the series for the C's, which is exactly why he agrees it would be smart to rest him for Game 1 at Chase Center.
"The hard part is he's dealing with not only the recovery from the surgery, but he got a bone bruise in that Milwaukee series, and so it's layered," Forsberg said. "They haven't been real clear about whether it's the bone bruise or whether it's the surgery, but I do think time will help either cause.
"So if you think Rob is vital to winning this series, which of course I do, then maybe it is better to buy him some time because I think Game 1 is going to be tough no matter what."
Ultimately, it'll be up to head coach Ime Udoka and Co. to decide what to do with Time Lord. If he does play, he'll be worth keeping tabs on for as long as he's able to stay on the floor.
The good news for Boston is veteran point guard Marcus Smart is no longer on the injury report ahead of the Finals. He had been dealing with a right ankle sprain.
Game 1 is scheduled for 9 p.m. ET on Thursday. Coverage begins right here on NBC Sports Boston at 7:30 p.m. ET with "Celtics Pregame Live."