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Report: Boston rookie Robert Williams slowed by artery condition in legs

Robert Williams

Boston Celtics NBA basketball team draft pick Robert Williams smiles while lining up a shot at the team’s training facility in Boston, Tuesday, July 3, 2018. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)


The knock on Robert Williams coming into the draft was his motor — he might play hard for the first couple minutes of a game, but he would not keep it up. He coasted. It’s the reason a lottery-level talent fell to the Celtics at No. 27.

Now comes word that Williams has a condition that causes numbness and fatigue in his legs when exercising.

Fred Katz of broke the news.

Boston Celtics rookie Robert Williams has an artery condition in both of his legs, multiple sources tell MassLive.

A source described the condition as, “not too serious.” It could, however, require a procedure if it were to degenerate down the line....

NBA teams, including the Celtics, were aware of Williams’ condition at the time of the draft -- as was Texas A&M, where Williams went to college. The rookie has been playing with the condition for years, sources told MassLive.

He has Popliteal artery entrapment syndrome (PAES), a rare vascular disease where the muscles and tendons in his knees are placed in such a way they constrict the popliteal artery during exercise, restricting blood flow to the calf and feet. The result can be numbness or cramps for the athlete. The stronger and more muscular the legs get, the more the artery can be compressed.

There are no current plans for Williams to undergo surgery, according to the report, but that could happen down the line. For now, Boston just plans to monitor the situation.

Williams has played just seven minutes in one game in Las Vegas.