Portland Trail Blazers center Robert Williams III won't play again in 2023-24. The right knee injury he sustained against the Memphis Grizzlies on Nov. 5 will require season-ending surgery, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. He is expected to be fully recovered by the start of the 2024-24 season.
The Blazers acquired Williams in October as part of the trade that sent Jrue Holiday, whom Portland acquired for Damian Lillard, to the Boston Celtics. On paper, the move made plenty of sense, though. Williams has dealt with injuries throughout his career. In Portland, however, he could back up another new addition, Deandre Ayton, who was acquired from the Phoenix Suns. That would, theoretically, allow the Blazers to limit his minutes in order to help keep him healthy.
Instead, Williams has suffered yet another injury. He has dealt with quite a few of them in his brief NBA career. He played in only 209 games across five seasons with the Celtics. A torn meniscus suffered during the 2021-22 season was the most serious of his injuries in the NBA. He missed more than half of last season after undergoing surgery on that knee following Boston's run to the 2022 NBA Finals.
Williams had been playing just 19.8 minutes per game so far this season in Portland, averaging 6.8 points and 6.3 rebounds per game in that limited sample. Without him, Portland will likely have to ask even more of Ayton, who is already playing 30.1 minutes per game, and rookie Toumani Camara, who is undersized to play center but has looked good thus far as a backup for the Blazers.