Monday, February 18, 2013
Updated: February 19, 4:53 PM ET
Deron Williams eyes Tuesday return
By Mike Mazzeo
Special to ESPNNewYork.com
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Brooklyn Nets point guard Deron Williams says he will play Tuesday against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Williams missed the past two games with inflammation in both ankles. The three-time All-Star received platelet-rich plasma injections in both of his ankles last week.
Williams spent this past weekend's All-Star break at a Miami resort with his family and Chicago Bulls power forward Carlos Boozer and his family.
"It definitely feels better than it did before I did it," said Williams, who returned to practice Monday. "[The doctors] said a week [of rest] was sufficient, so I trust the doctors. I definitely need more rest than a week for it to get back to normal, but I don't have time right now."
Williams said his injured ankles have definitely affected him a lot, and left him without any explosiveness.
"I can't jump -- I don't know if you've noticed -- I haven't dunked. I can't dunk," Williams said. "Even if I tried, off one leg I can't dunk. I can dunk off two, but if I tried to jump off my left leg, I can't dunk, so it's definitely affected me.
"You think about it, when I'm going into the lane and make a move, a hard jump-stop hurts. Any hard impact, or hard move, it hurts. I do a good job getting it warmed up, so the first quarter is usually great, a lot of good first quarters and then I go and sit down, it stiffens up. Its hard to get back going. It's definitely been a concern, that's a big reason I did the PRP."
It is unknown how many minutes Williams will be able to log on Tuesday night or if he'll be able to play in the second game of a home-and-home in Milwaukee on Wednesday night.
Despite being hampered by a myriad of minor injuries, Williams has missed just three games this season. He sat out Dec. 26 because of a bruised right wrist.
Williams has struggled after signing a five-year, $98 million contract to stay in Brooklyn this past offseason.
Before the start of the season, Williams had to have a cortisone shot in his left ankle because of inflammation caused by a bone spur. He expects to undergo offseason surgery to have the area cleaned up.
Williams, 28, has averaged just 13.7 points on 38.7 percent shooting in his past six games. Over that span, he averaged just 5.7 assists and 4.0 turnovers.
On the season, the 6-foot-3 Williams is averaging 16.7 points, 7.6 assists and 3.3 rebounds, along with 41.3 percent shooting. He has had to overcome fatigue and confidence problems with his shooting, while also dealing with being uncomfortable running his team's isolation-heavy offense.
Asked how he can get back to being the elite player he once was, Williams said, "I don't know what that is anymore. I don't know what you mean by that, being Deron Williams. I think people want me to be what I was in Utah. They want me to average 11 assists, 10 assists -- this is a different team.
"I don't have the ball in my hands as much as I did there. It's not the same type of team where I have to do that. I have Joe [Johnson] that can score, so he's gonna have the ball. Brook [Lopez], we pound it to him and he's gonna have the ball, so it's a different offense. ... I can still have the same impact on the game without having the same numbers."
USA Basketball president Jerry Colangelo told the New York Daily News this past weekend that Williams was "not in the best shape" and "a little overweight" when the U.S. Olympic men's basketball team began training last summer. Colangelo later clarified his comments.
Colangelo did call Williams, as he said he would, but Williams didn't want to get into detail about their conversation, saying "there's no reason to even talk about it."
"It wasn't a problem then, and it isn't a problem now," Williams said.
Mike Mazzeo is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.
I can't jump. ... I can't dunk. Even if I tried, off one leg I can't dunk. I can dunk off two, but if I tried to jump off my left leg, I can't dunk, so it's definitely affected me.
-- Deron Williams on ankle injury