The Portland Trail Blazers are picking up the pieces after it was announced that Robert Williams III will need surgery for his right knee injury.
It will be the second big knee surgery for Williams in as many years after he had his left knee surgically repaired a year ago. The injury limited him to just 35 games in the 2022-23 season.
According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the best-case scenario for Williams is a cleanup procedure that will only have him miss 2-3 months. This means you’re looking at a return potentially in January or February, where the Blazers will likely be further out of playoff contention.
Williams was acquired in the Jrue Holiday trade to the Celtics, and there was potential for him to be dealt once again at the deadline to a team contending for the playoffs. There’s still a possibility for that to happen, but will Williams opt for that route to return as quick as possible?
After the trade deadline, the Blazers are going to want to play their younger prospects more than Williams, especially after coming off a big injury
For his second major knee injury, Williams may opt to be a little more cautious. That could mean a potential season-ending surgery to have him ready to go for the start of next season. He still has two seasons remaining on a 4-year, $48 million deal he signed with the Celtics in 2022.
If we have seen the last of Williams for the Blazers this season, it could mean more small-ball lineups with Toumani Camara and Jabari Walker playing big. But more than likely, Moses Brown will be called upon to pitch in for Williams’ allotted minutes. Two-way center Duop Reath may also have an opportunity down the line to contribute.
The Blazers will have to adjust to life without Williams tomorrow against the Sacramento Kings. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. PT at Golden 1 Center.