Josh Newman, SNYNets.com
Late in the second quarter of a 93-89 win over a depleted Chicago Bulls team on Friday, Williams sprained his right ankle after stepping on Bulls guard Nate Robinson‘s foot after missing a turnaround jumper. With the help of Nets Athletic Trainer Tim Walsh, Williams hobbled to the bench, then to the locker room with assistance.
The three-time All-Star guard’s grit was on display as he played the second half on Friday. Despite being limited in practice on Sunday afternoon, Williams expects to go on Tuesday in what is one of the most anticipated home games of the team’s first year in Brooklyn.
“I mean, it’s silly to think there’s not going to be more excitement in the building and the atmosphere’s not going to be good,” Williams told reporters at PNY Center on Sunday.
Williams has missed only one game this season, Dec. 26 at the Milwaukee Bucks, despite dealing with a variety of injuries and illness. On Wednesday against the Miami Heat, Williams played despite being saddled with the flu.
While rookie forward Toko Shengelia sat out Sunday as he continues to deal with a concussion suffered on Jan. 26 while playing with the D-League’s Springfield Armor, the Nets are healthy right now and everyone else is available. Within a 14-5 start under Nets interim head coach P.J. Carlesimo, the team is 9-1 at Barclays Center under Carlesimo
That gaudy record will be put to the test against the Lakers, who, despite being 22-26 overall and 7-16 on the road, have won five of their last six and appear to be finally turning the corner under head coach Mike D’Antoni.
“It’s a big game for us, it’s another good team,” Williams said. “Even though they’re under .500, they’re still a good team when they play well, and as of late they’ve been playing a lot better. This will be another good test for us at home.”
D-12 out Sunday, Tuesday now TBD
With the Los Angeles Lakers playing at the Detroit Pistons on Sunday afternoon before heading to Brooklyn to take on the Nets on Tuesday evening, the status of Dwight Howard is up in the air.
Howard missed Friday’s win at the Minnesota Timberwolves as he continues to suffer from a torn right labrum. The Lakers’ center headed back to Los Angeles following a loss Wednesday at the Phoenix Suns, in which he aggravated the injury. After undergoing a platelet-rich plasma procedure on Saturday, Howard was on a plane later in the afternoon from Los Angeles to Detroit to join the team and indications were he would play Sunday.
That was not the case as Howard sat Sunday after reporting stiffness in the shoulder following the PRP procedure, making Tuesday even more of a question mark in what will be the Lakers’ first and only trip to Brooklyn this season.
Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni told reporters during shooraround Sunday morning that the decision for Howard to not play was ‘”his call.”
“I don’t want to go out there in any pain or go out there thinking about it too much,” Howard told reporters at The Palace of Auburn Hills on Sunday. “I don’t want to have this happen every week or two to where I’m fine and then I take a hard hit and I re-aggravate it.”
Sunday was Howard’s fifth missed game with the shoulder issue. He also left two other games after aggravating it, including Wednesday in Phoenix.
Since coming to the Los Angeles Lakers and while still with the Orlando Magic last season, Howard, who is set to be a free agent this summer, has been at the center of rampant trade speculation that would have placed him with the Nets in exchange for, among other pieces, newly-minted All-Star Brook Lopez.
In 43 games this season, the three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year and five-time All-NBA First Team selection is averaging 16.5 points and 11.9. Both numbers are below his career averages of 18.3 points and 12.9 rebounds.
Josh Newman is SNYNets.com’s Field Reporter. Follow him on Twitter for up to the minute news and banter on all things related to the Brooklyn Nets and the NBA