Monday, April 15 2024

On Monday, it was reported that Portland Trail Blazers big man Robert Williams III will require surgery on his right knee – a procedure that could keep him out for a significant period of time.

This Isn’t Just Any Injury

No matter what the situation, injuries always suck. However, they are a part of the sport, and plenty of players have serious injuries and go on to have long, successful playing careers after them (i.e., Kevin Durant and his torn Achilles).

But (as the headline suggests) this isn’t just any injury. Williams has a history of concerning injuries like this. Before this year, he’d only surpassed the 50 games played mark twice in his first five seasons. And he hasn’t done it at all since the 2021-22 season (more on this in a second). His questionable health is a large part of the reason he was even available to be traded in the first place.

On top of this, Williams hasn’t been the same since he rushed back from a torn meniscus injury in his left knee. On March 27, 2022, Williams tore his meniscus in his left knee. This type of injury usually takes multiple months to recover from (see Trey Murphy III). But Williams was back on the floor less than a month later (April 23, 2022).

He was noticeably hobbled throughout the playoffs (missing parts of the Boston Celtics’ matchups against the Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat). And then, in September of the same year, Williams needed to have an additional procedure on his left knee due to complications in his recovery. After that, Williams only played 35 of 82 games in the 2022-23 regular season.

Now, there is a chance that Williams is going to miss the entire year with another major knee injury. You never want to speculate on a player’s health, and you always wish them the best, but things are not looking good as it pertains to Williams’ long-term health.

Picking Up the Slack

Williams was part of the duo of blockbuster deals that the Blazers engaged in during the 2023 offseason. Specifically, he and Malcolm Brogdon headlined the deal that sent Jrue Holiday to the Celtics.

Through the early part of the year, Williams and the newly acquired Deandre Ayton have been taking turns manning the middle for Portland. The only other center on their roster is Duop Reath, who is on a two-way deal. The Blazers could convert Reath’s contract to a full-time NBA deal so that he can back up Ayton. They also could opt to play more small-ball center with guys like Jerami Grant and Toumani Camara in the minutes that Ayton is off the floor.

Through six games, Williams was averaging 6.8 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 1.2 BPG, and 1.2 SPG in 19.8 minutes of action per contest.

Source: Basketball Insider

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