Celtics

Does Celtics-Nets schedule set up a potential Robert Williams return?

Celtics

Head coach Ime Udoka said last week the Boston Celtics don't expect to have Robert Williams in their first-round playoff series. But he also admitted they haven't ruled Williams out.

And as things stand Wednesday morning, the door could be open for Time Lord suiting up in Round 1.

Dates for the Celtics' first-round NBA playoff series with the Brooklyn Nets were revealed late Tuesday night. Game 1 is set for this Sunday, but the teams get two days off between both Games 3 and 4, and if the series goes a full seven games, Game 7 would be on May 1.

Celtics-Nets playoff schedule

Williams had surgery on his torn left meniscus on March 30, with an expected recovery time of four-to-six weeks.

Four weeks from March 30 is April 27, which is the date of a potential Game 5 in Boston.

Robert Williams return calendar
NBC Sports Boston Illustration
A four-week timeline would have Robert Williams returning on the same day of a potential Game 5.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported shortly after Williams' injury that there's "real optimism" the Celtics big man could return closer to four weeks after his surgery -- and possibly even sooner. The C's have provided nothing but positive updates on Williams' rehab process, with Udoka recently noting the 24-year-old is already doing two-a-day workouts and hopefully could return "sooner than later."

 

It still seems unlikely that Boston would get Williams back for Game 3 (April 23) or Game 4 (April 25) in Boston. If he follows an exact four-week timeline, though, we could theoretically see Time Lord on the court in a potentially pivotal Game 5.

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That would be a great development for the Celtics, as Williams is a game-changer on both ends of the floor. The fourth-year big man averaged 10.0 points, 9.6 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game while emerging as a Defensive Player of the Year candidate during a breakout campaign.

The C's won four of their last five without Williams thanks to Al Horford, Daniel Theis and Grant Williams stepping up in the frontcourt. But Boston was virtually unbeatable before Time Lord's injury, and if they can return to that level of play at some point in this series, that will go a long way toward beating a very dangerous Nets team.