During the playoffs, Robert Williams isn’t the only major NBA player who has been injured.
Many others are in a similar situation, and some will have a worse ending than Williams, who is slated to return either Saturday or Monday for Game 3 of the series.
Here’s a look at some of the NBA’s recent ailments and how they might affect the Celtics.
Ben Simmons (back) of the Nets says he’s pain-free and might play against the Celtics on either Saturday or Monday, with Game 4 on Monday looking more likely.
Nets coach Steve Nash told reporters, “We’ll simply be delighted to have Ben playing.” “We’re not here counting down the minutes till Ben returns. He’ll be ready when he’s ready. If he isn’t, he isn’t. We want him to come out and play when he’s ready.”
After sliding on a wet patch in Game 2 against the Bulls, Bucks forward Khris Middleton, who generally appears to play well against the Celtics, is out with an MCL sprain.
In two weeks, he’ll be re-evaluated, which means the series with Chicago could last longer than it otherwise would. Middleton is expected to return for at least part of a potential Celtics-Bucks series, though he may not be at full form.
With Middleton out of the lineup, the defending champions are still deep and skilled, but they’re far less explosive.
He is a forward for the Philadelphia 76ers. Candidate for MVP While battling with a probably torn ligament in his thumb, Joel Embiid is playing through the discomfort. If the Sixers can put the Raptors away early, it will be beneficial to Embiid’s recovery.
The Celtics and 76ers would not meet until the Eastern Conference Finals, and a lot of things must happen before that. The Heat benefit the most from Embiid’s injury.
The Celtics-Suns clash is widely seen as one of the most likely NBA Finals matches, but Phoenix’s route has been made more difficult by the revelation that star Devin Booker will miss two to three weeks due to a hamstring strain.
The Suns have a two-game lead over the Pelicans, but New Orleans has kept the series closer than many expected. Phoenix already had a difficult road ahead of them, and it’s about to get even tougher now that Booker is likely out for the rest of the first round, if not longer.
Luka Doncic (calf strain) is expected to play in Game 4 of the series.
Without him, the Mavericks were able to take a 2-1 lead over the Jazz, and they now have a great chance to finish off Utah before facing short-handed and top-seeded Phoenix.
It’s doubtful that the Mavericks will reach the Finals, but it’s possible if Doncic looks like himself and Jalen Brunson continues to shine.
Many more are likely to be out for the season.
Joe Harris (Nets, ankle), Lonzo Ball (Bulls, mild meniscus tear), Jamal Murray (Nuggets, ruptured ACL), Michael Porter Jr. (Nuggets, back), James Wiseman (Warriors, torn meniscus), and Zion Williamson (Pelicans, foot) are all expected to miss the rest of the season.