Friday night against the Nets, Celtics center Robert Williams III left the game with a tweaked hamstring, not to return.

Sunday, before a somewhat concerning loss to the Knicks, coach Joe Mazulla said Williams would be out 7-10 days with a strained hamstring.

“So, we’re not going to rush him by any means, but when he’s healthy, we need him, and we want to play him,” Mazzulla said Sunday.

Williams missed the first 29 games of the season coming off meniscus surgery, and the team has eased him back this season (he hasn’t played both nights of a back-to-back, for example). While Williams is averaging 8.4 points and 8.6 rebounds a game when he does play, his real impact is on the defensive end — the Celtics’ defense is 2.8 points per 100 possessions better when he is on the court this season.

Williams being out will lead to more minutes for Grant Williams, Luke Kornet and Mike Muskala. It also could have Brad Stevens signing a big to a 10-day contract. Some veterans currently available include Tristan Thompson, LaMarcus Aldridge, Serge Igaka, and DeMarcus Cousins. It’s unclear if team president Brad Stevens wants to go the 10-day route, but he has options.

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