Report: Former Celtics big man Robert Williams facing potentially season-ending knee surgery


Robert Williams has been plagued by injuries over his last few seasons in the NBA.

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - OCTOBER 29: Robert Williams III #35 of the Portland Trail Blazers looks on during the second quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center on October 29, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Robert Williams could miss significant time due to his knee injury. Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Former Celtics big man Robert Williams has been bitten by the injury bug once again.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the current Trail Blazers center will require right knee surgery and is expected to be sidelined for an extended period of time after suffering an injury during Portland’s loss to Marcus Smart and the Grizzlies on Sunday night. 

The Athletic’s Shams Charania added on Monday night that Williams is facing a potential season-ending surgical procedure to repair bone and ligament damage in his right kneecap. Williams could also opt for a “clean-up” surgery that would put him on the shelf for 2-3 months.

Williams — who was traded from Boston to Portland on Oct. 1 in a blockbuster deal centered on Jrue Holiday — is an impact player capable of both swatting shots and hammering down lobs whenever he’s out on the court.

But the primary hurdle for Williams has been getting out on the court, with the 6-foot-9 big man only playing 60 or more games once over his first five seasons in the NBA.

That lone season came in 2021-22, when Williams’ breakout campaign coincided with Boston making a run all the way to the NBA Finals. Williams earned a Second-Team All-NBA defensive honor that year, averaging 10 points, nine rebounds, and two blocks per game.

But Williams suffered a torn meniscus in his left knee in March 2022 that required surgery. And even though he returned in time of the playoffs that year, additional complications in that knee prompted Williams to go under the knife again just before the start of training camp in September 2022. 

Williams ultimately played just 35 total games with the Celtics during his final season in Boston, averaging just 23.5 minutes per night.

So far this season, Williams is averaging 6.8 points and 6.3 rebounds in 19.8 minutes per game with his new team in Portland.