Utah Jazz notebook: Psst, Mo Williams has a little secret, he's itching to play again
Ben Brewer, Deseret News
NEW ORLEANS — Mo Williams let reporters in on a little secret Tuesday before the Jazz practiced and left for their three-game road trip.
(Come closer, and he'll quietly let you in as long as you pinkie promise to not rat him out to Jazz coaches or trainers.)
"Don't tell them," he said, "but I snuck a workout out at home yesterday. I'm itching (to play). It's sickening to watch."
Though he was supposed to be taking it easy and allowing his foot to heal, Williams ditched his walking boot and jumped on the treadmill Monday after missing a second game due to a strained right forefoot. (Again, keep this on the hush-hush.)
"It felt good," he said. "I just wanted to test it just to see how it would feel. I didn't get much sleep last night — late workout."
Understandably, the Jazz don't want Williams to rush back and further injure his foot, forcing him to miss more games. On Monday, he adhered to doctor's orders and sat out the Nuggets game before getting sneaky.
"I would've played the other night," he said. "Trust me, it wouldn't have been as effective as getting 100 percent. We want to get the wheel back rolling right. We're there. We're very, very close."
That close could happen tonight when Utah takes on the Hornets at New Orleans Arena.
"We want to be smart about it," he said. "So I'm going to leave it up to (the trainers) because if it's up to me I'm going."
If not, Williams has full confidence in his backups. Both Jamaal Tinsley and Earl Watson, also getting into the swing of things after a knee surgery layoff, have played well in his absence.
"Trust me, I knew what I had coming into this situation, and I was very, very ecstatic about it because it take a lot of pressure off of me that requires me not to play a lot of minutes," Williams said. "I can be around 32 and 33 and be fresh for the long haul. Barring any injury those guys are able to hold the throne."
But can they keep a secret?
T'S FOR TY: Tyrone Corbin was relieved his technical with four minutes remaining Monday didn't come back to haunt the Jazz. Denver missed the free throw, and Utah went on to win 105-103 after digging out of a 16-point hole.
The tech got the attention of Jazz players.
"He don't get many, so when he do it does (motivate us)," Jazz forward Paul Millsap said. "You can see when he did, it kind of sparked a run for us."
Jazz CEO Greg Miller jumped out of his courtside seat and restrained Corbin, perhaps saving his coach from doling out more fine money and helping him stick around for the wild finish.
"It reminds you of the Jerry Sloan days, right?" Millsap said, laughing. "He's intense and he's passionate about it."
NICE GESTURE: The Jazz observed a moment of silence for the daughter of Rockets coach Kevin McHale before Monday's game. New Orleans will show the same respect prior to tonight's tipoff. Sasha McHale, 23, passed away Saturday due to complications from lupus.
It's uncertain whether McHale will return to Houston in time for the Jazz's game there Saturday. He's been on a leave of absence for weeks to be with his family.
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