Utah Jazz notebook: No timetable for Mo Williams' return after thumb injury, MRI
Jody Genessy, Deseret News
ORLANDO — No Mo.
That four-letter phrase might describe the Utah Jazz lineup for a while after an MRI test taken Sunday revealed damage to Mo Williams' right thumb.
The Jazz's starting point guard will be out indefinitely until another MRI can be taken in the next couple of days after swelling subsides to allow a more accurate evaluation.
Williams isn't sure yet whether surgery will be required or a timetable for a return.
"Hopefully, we'll get another MRI and we'll get some better news. Obviously just kind of keep my head up through it," Williams said before Sunday's Jazz-Magic game. "It's a tough blow for myself because I can't help the team when I'm on the sidelines."
For that matter, Williams said his thumb is in so much pain and is so swollen, he's having a hard time doing routine activities even away from the basketball court.
The injury reminds him of the struggles he had with his thumb back in the 2007-08 season when he partially tore a ligament in his thumb, then played through the pain for most of the season until fully tearing it with 10 games left in the season. Williams had offseason surgery to repair the damage.
"It's just painful. I can't move it. I can't even eat or brush my teeth. It's tough to bathe," Williams said. "That's when I knew it's kind of significant like it was then (in 2008). I just couldn't utilize it."
Williams injured his thumb in Saturday's loss at Miami when he swiped for the ball and hit Mario Chalmers' leg. He didn't play the second half and had X-rays taken that didn't show any broken bones.
Williams said he could tell this thumb injury differed from when he previously sprained it in November.
"I hurt it (earlier this season), but I could feel it. Last night, when I hurt it, I couldn’t feel my hand," Williams said. "I was dribbling down the court, and it really felt like I had one arm."
Jamaal Tinsley got the starting nod in his place Sunday for the Jazz, whose offense obviously runs differently without their usual floor general. Williams, who just turned 30, is the quickest of the Jazz playmakers. He's also the most accurate shooter.
"Mo is the guy that drives the pace for us," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. "We're going to miss him."
"I'm not a doctor," Jazz center Al Jefferson added, "but it (stinks) not to have him, though, for a while, I know that."
Williams sat on the Jazz bench next to assistant coach Michael Sanders and reserve center Enes Kanter during Sunday's game, offering advice and encouragement.
"I'm still going to be there for my teammates. I'm still going to be there to support them," Williams said. "They're still going to hear my mouth. I'm not going to stop talking. I'm going to try to be as upbeat as possible."
Even so, Big Al empathizes with his Mississippi pal.
"It just (stinks) not to have him just for the fact I know how important this season is and to get hurt especially right in the middle when we're trying to do something, I just feel bad for him," said Jefferson, who will be a free agent this summer like Williams. "But he's going to bounce back. He's been through it before."
Jefferson called it a "great safety net" to have veteran backups like Tinsley and Earl Watson. Tinsley finished with 11 points and four assists in Sunday's 97-93 win, while Watson dished out eight assists off the bench.
"He did leave the job with two veteran point guards who've been very professional, understanding and patient," Jefferson said. "We didn't want nothing like this to happen, but we knew it was a possibility. Somebody can get hurt and they (are) ready to step up and we (are) ready to play."
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