Josh Newman, SNYNets.com
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Deron Williams is dealing with a case of synovitis (inflammation of ankle joint linings) in both ankles, for which he received platelet-rich plasma injections and missed the final two games before the All-Star break last week.
Williams is rested, having had seven days off, but is in pain. He would like to rest a little more, but with the Nets at a contending 31-22 and the stretch run opening Tuesday evening at Barclays Center against the Milwaukee Bucks, that isn’t really an option.
“They said a week was sufficient, so I trust the doctors,” Williams said after practice at PNY Center on Monday evening. “I definitely need more rest than a week for it to get back to normal, but I don’t have time right now.”
While Nets interim head coach P.J. Carlesimo balked when the topic of his franchise point guard’s availability came up, Williams said he would go on Tuesday evening, which is a snap-decision that shouldn’t surprise anyone.
Coming off a stint with Team USA at the London Olympics this past summer, Williams has been banged up all season, but has been out there anyway as the Nets started the season hot, then struggled before getting back into contention again.
He received a cortisone shot in late October to help his left ankle and has played through that ailment. He has also dealt with right wrist, right elbow, hip and quadriceps muscle ailments. He missed a game at the Bucks on Dec. 27 thanks to the wrist, but has missed just three in total this season following last week’s PRP treatment.
With the lingering injuries and Williams’ insistence on trying to be a gamer, his numbers have dipped to 16.7 points and 7.6 assists per game. The 7.6 assists is his lowest average since his rookie season with the Utah Jazz back in 2004-05.
“Yeah, it’s definitely affected me a lot,” Williams said of the ankles. “I cant jump. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, I haven’t dunked. I cant dunk. Even if I tried, off one leg I cant dunk. I can dunk off two, but if I tried to jump off my left leg, I cant dunk, so its 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. Its definitely been a concern, that’s a big reason I did the PRP.”
Williams said he will play Tuesday evening after Nets interim head coach P.J. Carlesimo balked at the question. What is not quite clear yet is if there will be a minutes restriction on Tuesday in addition to whether or not he will play on Wednesday evening in Milwaukee on the second night of the back-to-back.
“We just want Deron to be Deron Williams,” Carlesimo said. “If Deron is Deron Williams, we’ll be fine. I do think if the treatment allows him to play with a little or a lot less pain, that will be significant. If that’s the case, obviously, I think we’ll see an even better Deron. I have no expectations, honestly. I wasn’t sure if he was going to practice today. Whatever they (Athletic Trainer Tim Walsh and doctors) say is fine. If he can play, great. If he can’t, that’s OK. Whenever he can play he can play.”
This opening stretch for the Nets after the All-Star break is not an easy one. They will play five games in eight nights with the first four coming against teams that currently hold playoff positions. After the back-to-back against the Bucks, they will host the Houston Rockets on Friday and the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday.
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