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Utah Jazz: Mo Williams headed to NYC for second opinion on injured thumb

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 1 2013 5:35 p.m. MST

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Jazz have a home game Wednesday night, but Mo Williams is taking a road trip on his own.

The Jazz's starting point guard will meet with Dr. Michelle Carlson in New York City on Wednesday to get a follow-up MRI and a second opinion on his severely sprained right thumb.

Carlson, a hand specialist, is the orthopedic surgeon who performed surgery on the same thumb for Williams to repair ligament damage after the 2007-08 season when he played for Milwaukee.

"Some of the swelling's gone down now," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said at practice Tuesday. "So he can get his doctor to look at it and get another MRI and see exactly what's going on."

Williams re-injured the right thumb on Dec. 22 in Miami after swiping at the basketball and smacking Mario Chalmers' leg with his hand. He immediately experienced numbness and swelling in the thumb, which had already been hurt once this season, although less severely. Williams hasn't seen action in the Jazz's ensuing four games and is out "indefinitely" per the team's medical staff.

The day after suffering the injury, Williams said the thumb "felt the same" as when it previously required surgery.

Williams did not travel with the Jazz to Los Angeles, where they lost their third straight game Sunday night. He wasn't at practice Tuesday, either.

"It's a tough blow for myself," Williams said last week after injuring his thumb, "because I can't help the team when I'm on the sidelines."

On the Jazz's pre-Christmas road trip, the 30-year-old explained that his right thumb was hurt early in the 2007-08 campaign. He taped it and continued to play through pain. The thumb got hit again with 10 games remaining that year, forcing the eventual surgery in between his stints in Milwaukee and Cleveland.

Bouncing back from thumb surgery can take from 6-8 weeks.

"The rehab on it wasn't that bad," Williams said, recalling his 2008 surgery. "Once you get it fixed, the pain goes away and you're able to utilize it."

Williams struggled to even do routine things as simple as brushing his teeth with his right hand in the immediate aftermath of this injury.

Recuperating enough to play basketball is another thing.

"When the pain is there, you catch the ball it hurts. You dribble the ball, it hurts. You get it hit, it hurts even more," Williams said. "Once the surgery (is over), the process of getting back was pretty simple, it was just all about having confidence of swiping down again, reaching in for steals, where I got it hurt again."

Corbin recently lamented that the Jazz aren't quite the same without Williams — from the way he moves the ball to the way he gets the team into the secondary parts of the offense if Plan A doesn't pan out.

"We miss him a lot. We miss his pace," Corbin said last week. "He can attack the rim and get something."

On Friday, Williams admitted it's been "frustrating" to be going through this ordeal.

"I'm able to move it a little bit now, but it's still got some pain in there — a lot of pain in there," Williams said. "I wouldn't be able to catch the ball and stuff like that yet."

THE OTHER WILLIAMS' INJURY: Marvin Williams' health situation is making positive progress. The small forward missed Sunday's game against the Clippers with inflammation in his right knee, but he practiced Tuesday with a sleeve on his leg.

Williams underwent an undisclosed procedure on Friday. The Jazz were vague about what that entailed but said it wasn't surgery. He said he didn't have fluid removed, either.

"I feel much better," Williams said, crediting extra rest for helping the pain and swelling subside. "As long as everything's fine, I'm sure I'll play Wednesday."

NO COMPLAINTS: After being grumpy about not playing in the fourth quarter Sunday, Paul Millsap was in a chipper mood at Tuesday's practice. He even teased reporters for delving into questions before wishing him a Happy New Year.

Millsap also said he hadn't given a second thought about watching Derrick Favors finish out Sunday's loss in Los Angeles. He didn't talk to coaches about riding that game out on the pine, either.

"I'm very passive. I don't let things like that try to get to me. When (Corbin) puts me in the game, I've just got to be ready to go," Millsap said. "He's the coach. I can express my feelings as much as possible. Will it work? Who knows. When you get in, you get in."

Millsap said he can't let situations like that get in his way from being a good teammate.

"We're all a team, keep that in mind," he said. "We've all got the same goal in mind. You just try not to let it get to you."

EMAIL: jody@desnews.com, TWITTER: DJJazzyJody

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