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Celtics' Robert Williams out for Game 3 vs. Heat with knee soreness

BOSTON -- The Celtics won't have center Robert Williams for Saturday night's Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat. Williams has been ruled out for Saturday's tilt as he deals with left knee soreness.

Williams popped up on the Celtics' injury report Saturday afternoon and was listed as questionable for the game. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported shortly before Ime Udoka chatted with reporters that Williams was out, but Udoka said Williams was going to be checked out one final time before a determination was made.

"He had some soreness and swelling that popped up. Got it checked out this morning, will be checked out again in the next few minutes and we'll determine from there," said Udoka.

But the Celtics announced that Williams would miss the game at 7:05 p.m. Daniel Theis will start in his place, which is a change of pace for the Celtics. Grant Williams usually played power forward and Al Horford moved to center when Robert Williams missed previous games this postseason.

"We like our size always and we've done that well this year," Udoka said when explaining why he would go with Theis on Saturday night. "It kind of puts Grant back in his role, even though he's done both this year, as well. And matchup-wise and schematically, what we want to do and the way we want to start, Daniel benefits us, and we let Al kind of keep his role that he would with Rob."  

Robert Williams has played in seven of Boston's 13 games so far this postseason, averaging 7.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks per game. He had 18 points and nine rebounds in Boston's Game 1 loss in Miami, and five points, four rebounds, and three blocks over 20 minutes in a Game 2 win on Thursday night.

He had looked like his usual self in the first two games of the Eastern Conference Finals, but has been dealing with knee soreness since he returned from meniscus surgery in the first round. It didn't help that he suffered a bone bruise following a big hit from Giannis Antetokounmpo in Game 3 of the second round, forcing Williams to miss the next three games of that series. (He was available for Game 7 but did not play.) Udoka said that this soreness stemmed from the bone bruise and not the surgery.

The Heat, meanwhile, will get starting point guard Kyle Lowry back after he missed the first two games with a lingering hamstring strain. Lowry, who has played in just five of Miami's playoff games this postseason, will start for the Heat.

PJ Tucker, who suffered a knee injury in Game 2, is also available for Miami on Saturday night.

The Celtics and the Heat are tied at 1-1 in the Eastern Conference Finals. Tip off for Game 3 is set for shortly after 8:30 p.m. on Saturday night.


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