Celtics center Robert Williams – who played (super) despite a knee injury – had only revealed so much about his situation.
His knee hurts. Adrenaline during the game helps. Maintenance between games is tedious.
But during the NBA Finals, he mostly refused to answer questions about his long-term perspective, aside from briefly admitting last week that he’s taking a “risk.”
How bad is this injury?
Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes:
“My knee took a really bad beating in the last series,” Williams III confirmed to Yahoo Sports. “I stopped venting it because I didn’t think there was any point. My knee kept filling up with fluid. So I kind of learned how to use that to be able to play.”
Medical staff have assured him that he will not face any further deterioration of the repaired knee. It’s all a matter of pain tolerance.
Hopefully, Williams really doesn’t risk any long-term problems with his knee.
But this is the organization that played Isaiah Thomas through a hip injury that would ultimately derail his career completely and cost him a big payday. So the Boston doesn’t necessarily deserve the benefit of the doubt.
There are perverse incentives in team medical care. The priority of the team is the team – not the health of the players. These concerns often, but not always, overlap.
Do you think the Celtics would sacrifice the $48-54 million they owe Williams over the next four years for his contract renewal in exchange for a championship? This is of course only theoretical. In reality, there are far more concerns, including treating people properly.
It’s commendable that Williams plays through pain and takes on any risk he faces. His skill should be respected in Boston and beyond, but that streak is ending.
And again, hopefully Williams doesn’t end up worse for wear in the long run.