Portland Trail Blazers center Robert Williams III’s season has taken an unfortunate turn, as he is set to miss the remaining games due to a critical knee injury that necessitates surgery. The injury occurred during the Blazers’ recent loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday. Williams sustained damage to both his kneecaps and ligaments, which further complicates the team’s performance this season. Acquired in a trade with the Boston Celtics in exchange for Jrue Holiday, Williams had swiftly solidified his status as an elite NBA big man, often showcasing his skills alongside Deandre Ayton on the court.
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Despite leading the league in allowed field goal percentage among players who defended over 1,000 shots, Williams has grappled with persistent knee issues in recent years. This presents an ongoing challenge for both him and the team. The setback follows Williams’ earlier absence at the commencement of the 2022-23 season, during which he recovered from offseason surgery on his left knee. Unfortunately, this period of recovery was interrupted when he tore the meniscus in the same knee in March 2022. Despite these challenges, the 2021-22 season marked a standout performance for Williams, as he started 61 games for the Celtics. He contributed impressive averages of 10 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks.
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His stellar defensive prowess earned him a second-team All-NBA selection during the Celtics’ commendable journey to the finals. Adding to the Blazers’ woes, rookie guard Scoot Henderson is set to be sidelined for the next two to three weeks due to an ankle injury, further straining the team’s roster. With a lackluster start to the 2023-24 campaign, the Blazers now find themselves in the midst of a crisis as multiple promising young stars contend with injuries. All of these will pose a significant challenge to the team’s performance and aspirations for the season.