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Report: Celtics told Robert Williams playing through injury won’t make knee worse

Celtics center Robert Williams at 2022 NBA Finals Practice and Media Availability

BOSTON, MA - JUNE 15: Robert Williams III of the Boston Celtics addresses the media during 2022 NBA Finals Practice and Media Availability on June 15, 2022 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

Celtics center Robert Williams – playing (awesomely) through a knee injury – had divulged only so much about his situation.

His knee hurts. Adrenaline during games helps. The between-game maintenance is burdensome.

But during the NBA Finals he has mostly declined to answer questions about his long-term outlook, aside from briefly acknowledging last week he’s taking a “risk.”

Just how severe is this injury?

Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:

“I was really having my knee drained a lot last series,” Williams III confirmed to Yahoo Sports. “I stopped draining it because there was no point, in my opinion. My knee kept filling back up with fluid. So, I’ve kind of learned how to manage it to be able to play.”

The medical staff has ensured him that he is not at further risk of worsening the repaired knee. It’s all a matter of pain tolerance.

Hopefully, Williams truly isn’t risking long-term problems with his knee.

But this is the organization that played Isaiah Thomas through a hip injury that would ultimately completely derail his career and cost him a major payday. So, the Boston doesn’t necessarily deserve benefit of the doubt.

There are perverse incentives with team-provided medical care. The team’s priority is the team – not players’ health. Those concerns often overlap, but not always.

Think the Celtics would sacrifice the $48 million-$54 million they’d owe Williams over the next four years on his contract extension in exchange for a championship? That’s obviously only theoretical. In reality, there are far more concerns, including treating people the right way.

Williams playing through pain and facing whatever risk he’s facing is commendable. His mettle should be respect in Boston and beyond however this series ends.

And again, hopefully it ends with Williams no worse for the wear long-term.