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Robert Williams Still Has Long Way To Go, But Celtics Not Completely Ruling Out Potential Return Vs. Nets

BOSTON (CBS) -- The Celtics are tempering expectations when it comes to Robert Williams making a return during the team's upcoming playoff series against the Brooklyn Nets. That continued Thursday morning, when Brad Stevens said that Williams is still a long way from getting back in the Boston lineup.

"He has progressed well and is definitely not cleared to do any contact or practice, so he still has a long way to go," the Celtics president of basketball ops. told 98.5 The Sports Hub's Toucher & Rich. "He's been in every day, twice a day doing everything he is allowed to do. He's worked his butt off and you can tell he feels pretty good. But he has a ways to go to clear all the hurdles, even to be cleared for harder workouts."

Stevens said there is no change to the 4-to-6 week timeframe that the team put on Williams' return after the big man underwent surgery on his left knee meniscus. But if Williams' recovery is on the early end, there is a chance he could play late in the series against Brooklyn.

"I'm saying I'm comfortable with the timeframe. We'll see what happens over the next couple of weeks, but we are not going to put Rob out there until he is fully prepared to be out there," said Stevens. "He is very important to our team and will be very important to our team for a long time."

Stevens' comments come on the heels of ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski saying that there is a "very real" possibility that Williams returns late in the Nets series during Wednesday night's NBA Countdown.

"Game 6 would fall on one month from his left knee meniscus surgery back on March 30th and the thought from the very beginning was because of the nature of this meniscus surgery that he could be back even within that one-month timetable," said Woj. "He's continued to progress, he's met all his benchmarks I'm told, and there's a real possibility for Boston."

Celtics head coach Ime Udoka said Wednesday that Williams continues to attack his rehab process and the team is happy with his progress. He said that it's "probably" going to be a full series before Williams returns to the Boston lineup, in line with what he has said since Williams went under the knife.

But "probably" isn't ruling it out completely, so the door remains ajar, and the spread-out schedule against Brooklyn could help Williams' cause. Only time will tell with the Time Lord coming back.

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