Forsberg: Why Robert Williams’ injury is a gut punch for surging C’s initially appeared on NBC Sports Boston
The information that Robert Williams has a torn meniscus and will be sidelined indefinitely hit like a intestine punch simply hours after the Boston Celtics ascended to the highest spot within the Japanese Convention.
A workforce completely drunk on optimistic vibes bought hit with a sobering slap and a harsh reminder of the well being woes which have too usually invaded in and round playoff time for this franchise.
At the same time as Boston surged over the previous 10 weeks, the workforce did so largely as a result of good well being that evaded it in the beginning of the yr. Issues all the time felt a bit fragile due to how necessary every of the items was to the puzzle.
There’s a case to be made that, past Jayson Tatum, no participant was extra invaluable than Williams. That shouldn’t diminish what Jaylen Brown is doing or how Marcus Smart has flourished within the level guard function. However the Celtics’ protection went from good to “Wait, are they enjoying with seven guys on the court docket?” superb with Williams within the rover function all through calendar yr 2022.
We’d wish to inform you the numbers supply some kind of consolation. They don’t, though we’re working with a small pattern measurement due to how obtainable Williams had been this season.
The Celtics’ beginning 5, in fact, had been an absolute juggernaut this season, proudly owning a plus-24.6 internet score in 443 minutes collectively. Take away any of these items and the numbers dive in a rush.
The Tatum-Brown-Sensible-Horford quartet has performed solely 125 minutes collectively this season with out Williams. That group owns a minus-8.2 internet score, with Boston’s defensive score spiking from 97.0 with the complete quintet to 114.9 with out him.
Slim the main focus to all Tatum-Brown-Sensible minutes with out Williams and it doesn’t get a lot better. That trio has a minus-9.1 internet score over 170 minutes. Once more, not an enormous pattern, however sufficient to emphasize that this workforce can anticipate a drop-off with out certainly one of its infinity stones.
You may’t assist however really feel for Williams, who had finished a lot to decrease the damage notion from earlier in his profession. The Celtics took nice measures to attempt to protect his physique and it nonetheless balked on the worst doable time.
Williams needs to be cementing his case for an All-Protection spot over the subsequent couple weeks. As a substitute, he’ll be pressured to look at his workforce attempt to keep its success with out him.
The Celtics are lucky to have Daniel Theis proper now after including the veteran massive on the commerce deadline. Boston will now need to lean even heavier on 35-year-old Al Horford to carry down the again line and Theis is an honest luxurious to fill big-man minutes.
However changing Time Lord isn’t a simple activity.
The Celtics can contemplate shifting Grant Williams onto the primary unit alongside Al Horford. That group has performed solely 50 minutes collectively however has proven some offensive potential. Alas, it’s nonetheless a minus-4.6 internet score in a small pattern.
A lot of the burden to hold the Celtics ahead now falls to Tatum and Brown. The one little bit of positivity we will depart you with is that that duo is not any stranger to soldiering on when limb accidents have taken a famous person away.
Can Tatum and Brown carry the workforce deep into the playoffs like they did with out Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward? The duty simply bought much more tough. The Celtics haven’t been challenged a lot the previous three months, however now they have to present they’ll reply after getting hit within the abdomen.