Boston Celtics center Robert Williams III is nearing a return and could play in Game 3 on Saturday or Game 4 on Monday against the Brooklyn Nets, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania.
Later on Friday, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that barring a setback, Williams intends to return to Game 3 in "limited minutes." Pending on how he feels after the contest, Williams could be back to a significant minutes load as soon as Game 4.
Williams suffered a torn meniscus on March 27 and his progress will continued to be monitored before making a final determination.
This season, Williams has averaged 10.0 points, 9.6 rebounds, 2.2 blocks, 2.0 assists and 0.9 steals, while shooting 73.6% from the field. He's a key part of Boston's NBA-best defense, as Brooklyn's Bruce Brown noted when the Nets drew the Celtics in the first round.
Among all NBA players this season, Williams averaged the second-most blocks per game (2.2) and recorded the league's third-best block percentage (6.8%). Also, Williams ranked seventh in Win Shares (9.9), fourth in Win Shares Per 48 Minutes (.262) and fifth in Defensive Win Shares (3.9). In addition, the 24-year-old posted the NBA's 10th-best Box Plus/Minus (+5.5), fourth-best Defensive Box/Plus Minus (+3.1) and fourth-best offensive rebound percentage (14.6%). And while defensive rating isn't necessarily an individual stat, Williams led the league in defensive rating (102.4).