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Celtics' Robert Williams III has surgery, expected to return in 4-6 weeks

Boston Celtics center Robert Williams III, who underwent surgery Wednesday, could return for the second round of the playoffs. Photo by CJ Gunther/EPA-EFE
Boston Celtics center Robert Williams III, who underwent surgery Wednesday, could return for the second round of the playoffs. Photo by CJ Gunther/EPA-EFE

March 30 (UPI) -- Boston Celtics center Robert Williams III underwent surgery for a torn meniscus in his left knee Wednesday morning and is expected to miss four to six weeks, a source close to the league told UPI.

Williams' timetable to return could put him back on the floor with the Celtics in the second round of the playoffs, if the team advances past the first round.

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The 6-foot-8, 237-pound Williams injured the knee during the Celtics win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday in Boston.

Williams is averaging career highs, with 10 points, 9.6 rebounds, 2.2 blocks, 2.0 assists and 0.9 steals per game this season. The four-year veteran started 61 regular-season games.

The Celtics (47-29) hold the No. 3 seed in the current Eastern Conference standings. Six games remain in the NBA's regular season. The Miami Heat (48-28) are the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, followed by the Milwaukee Bucks (47-28).

The Top 6 respective teams in the Eastern Conference and Western Conference regular-season standings will earn automatic playoff berths.

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The team with the seventh-highest winning percentage in each conference will host the team with the eighth-highest winning percentage in a play-in game. The winner of that game will earn the No. 7 seed in each conference.

The team with the ninth-highest winning percentage in each conference will host the team with the 10th-highest winning percentage in another play-in game. The loser of the first play-in game will then face the winner of the second play-in game to determine each conference's No. 8 seed for the playoffs.

The Celtics host the Miami Heat at 7:30 p.m. EDT Wednesday at TD Garden in Boston. The NBA's Play-In Tournament runs from April 12 to 15. The playoffs start April 16 and will end no later than June 19.

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