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Brad Stevens Explains The Optimistic Timeline For Rob Williams' Return

BOSTON (CBS) -- The Celtics released some promising news on Wednesday when the team revealed that center Robert Williams could be back within four-to-six weeks after undergoing surgery on his meniscus. That could put the Boston big man back in action as early as the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.

That's a great timeline for the Time Lord, who has been a massive part of Boston's top-flight defense and was enjoying a career year before he was injured on Sunday. Celtics president of basketball ops. Brad Stevens explained the optimistic timeline Friday morning during his weekly chat with 98.5 The Sports Hub's Toucher & Rich, saying that Williams only needed the less-invasive surgery (a trim vs. a full repair) because it wasn't a full meniscus tear.

"When they went in and did the MRI we felt a little better, because it was just a tiny, small, almost like flap. They had a couple different people look at it and they all agreed it was a pretty simple solution," said Stevens. "They were able to go in there and fix it, so the timeline is much better than it would have been had they had to go in and repair it."

That's why Williams will be able to return to action sooner rather than later, though Stevens said don't expect Williams to return ahead of schedule.

But Williams was back at the Auerbach Center on Thursday, sitting in on the team's film session and doing some light work on the court. He was even walking around the facilities Friday morning as Stevens was doing his interview.

However, while Williams is expected to ramp his rehab up next week, Stevens cautioned that the Celtics will not rush Williams back.

"Rob's long-term health is numero uno," said Stevens. "We're excited that it doesn't feel like it's a longer term thing."

The Celtics have dropped two straight games since the severity of Williams' injury was revealed, losing in Toronto without four starters while dropping a tough one to the top-seeded Heat in Boston on Wednesday. But Stevens doesn't think that losing their starting center is an excuse for Boston's defense to fall off over the next month-plus.

"We don't have an excuse to not be a really good defense," he said. "We have a ton of versatility and athleticism and length all over. We have to have everybody raise their levels to make up for the loss of a guy."

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