Robert Williams, Williams, NBA, Boston Celtics
Jul 6, 2018; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Boston Celtics forward Robert Williams (44) against the Philadelphia 76ers during an NBA Summer League game at Thomas & Mack Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Celtics Rookie Robert Williams Has Rare Artery Condition In Legs

Boston Celtics rookie Robert Williams looked like one of the biggest steals of the 2018 draft, but we now may know why he slipped all the way to No. 28. Williams has a rare artery condition in both of his legs.

The condition is titled Popliteal Artery Rntrapment Syndrome (PAES). It’s a vascular disease in which the muscles and tendons in Williams’ knees constrict his popliteal artery when he exercises. The result: the condition restricts blood flow to the rookie’s calves and feet.

The news comes via Fred Katz of, who cited “multiple sources.”

“A source described the condition as, ‘not too serious,'” Katz writes. “It could, however, require a procedure if it were to degenerate down the line.”

Williams won’t require surgery at the moment, and the timetable for such a procedure is not planned. It seems likely, however, that he will require frequent treatment and perhaps a procedure down the line.

Williams is a monster athlete and appears to fit the bill as a prototypical modern big man. Thus, it was surprising to see him slip in June’s draft.

“NBA teams, including the Celtics, were aware of Williams’ condition at the time of the draft — as was Texas A&M, where Williams went to college,” Katz adds. “The rookie has been playing with the condition for years, sources told MassLive.”

Williams, a 6-foot-9 Louisiana native, played two seasons at A&M. As a sophomore, he averaged 10.4 points, 9.2 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks per game. His “motor” was one of the biggest knocks on him as a prospect, but we now may understand why he appears to take plays off.

Celtics in Summer League

Williams has appeared once in Summer League, playing only seven minutes before he bumped knees with an opponent. He later revealed he’s dealing with tendonitis in that same knee. He has sat out for the team’s other two games.

It’s not clear whether Williams will appear again in Las Vegas game action.

“Every morning, they say, ‘Can he play or can’t play?’” Brad Stevens said. “So far, it’s been: ‘Can’t play.’ I don’t want him to play if he’s hurting at all, but we’ll reassess it whenever our next game is.”

About Aaron Mansfield

Aaron Mansfield is a freelance sports writer. His work has appeared in Complex, USA Today and the New York Times. Mansfield is a PhD candidate at UMass Amherst.

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