What Rob Williams knee surgery means for Celtics options entering training camp

Robert Williams played through plenty of pain last postseason for the Celtics after undergoing surgery for a meniscus tear in his left knee. There was hope a full offseason would give the athletic center plenty of time to heal but lingering issues remain. League sources confirmed to MassLive that Williams will likely miss the start of the regular season after needing to undergo surgery on the left knee. Sean Deveney of Heavy.com was first to report the procedure. The procedure is expected to force him to miss 4-to-6 weeks. The Celtics open up the regular season on October 18th with a home date against the Philadelphia 76ers.

Williams suffered a torn meniscus in his left knee in late March and was sidelined for a month after undergoing surgery. He managed to return for Game 3 of the team’s first round series against the Nets just weeks later but was repeatedly sidelined due to knee pain for the remainder of the postseason. He missed four games in the second round against the Bucks and also sat out one game against the Heat in the East Finals.

MassLive analysis: Williams averaged 10.0 points, 9.6 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 2.0 blocks last year while anchoring the NBA’s top regular season defense. He played a career-high 61 games, averaging nearly 30 minutes per contest, a promising sign for a player plagued by injury woes throughout much of his career.

The continued knee issues after a meniscus tear have to be a bit of a concern for Boston, particularly amid a relatively thin frontcourt situation. The Celtics already lost Danilo Gallinari (torn ACL) for the year and will be relying on a number of unproven players to compete for a roster spot as backup bigs in training camp. That competition just got a lot more interesting with the likes of Luke Kornet, Mfiondu Kabengele, Noah Vonleh and Bruno Caboclo all in the mix for roster spots.

With Williams sidelined for likely some of Boston’s regular season games as he recovers, the competition for a roster spot will extend to potentially a chance for minutes for all of those players. Grant Williams will also see an elevated role as a reserve big to begin the year, especially since the team will not want to overexert Al Horford at age 36 for a full 82 games.

Boston also still has one roster spot available for training camp and it’s a possibility a more veteran name could be brought in to compete for minutes among the bigs if the front office deems it necessary. LaMarcus Aldridge, DeMarcus Cousins, Dwight Howard, Greg Monroe, Cody Zeller and Hassan Whiteside are all names that are still unsigned.

Celtics training camp kicks off on September 27th.