Matt Gade, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Batman wouldn’t even consider what Marvin Williams is thinking about doing.
The Utah Jazz forward might ditch his mask.
Williams played the final part of Friday’s 113-102 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers without the protective headgear he’s been wearing since undergoing surgery to repair his broken nose in November.
The strap's lining was bothering Williams during Friday’s action, so he handed the clear, hard plastic mask to Jazz trainer Gary Briggs during a timeout and played without it the rest of the way.
That led him to thinking about doing an experiment over the weekend during practice.
“I’m going to do a little trial period the next 48 hours,” Williams said before Saturday morning’s workout. “I might retire it. I’m not sure yet.”
Williams took an errant elbow from teammate Derrick Favors when the Jazz played San Antonio on Nov. 15. He continued to play with the broken nose that night and then played again the next two games before having his fractured nose repositioned five days later.
Williams missed one game in New Orleans but returned to action the day after having surgery, taking a morning commercial flight to Dallas to catch up with the team on a road trip.
Williams has been wearing the mask ever since that game seven weeks ago aside from a couple of times when it accidentally came off.
“I was really nervous somebody would get close to my face,” Williams said, referring to the previous times the mask came off. “(Friday) night, I took it off and it felt fine. I didn’t think about it.”
Williams said his reset nose is doing well, too.
“It feels fine, actually. It’s felt fine for a long time,” he said. “The biggest thing for me is comfort. The mask just kind of put my mind at ease about getting hit again, so hopefully these next 48 hours I might practice without it and see how it is and I might play without it on Monday.”
HEALTH UPDATE: Shooting guard Gordon Hayward did not practice Saturday after missing Friday’s game with a left hip flexor. He is considered a game-time decision Monday against the Nuggets.
Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said the best course of action for Hayward now is to continue doing therapy and stretches for the injury. It’s better, he added, to be cautious about returning so the hip doesn’t suffer more damage.
“If you don’t pay attention to them, they (hip flexor injuries) can hang around,” he said. “If you don’t take care of them they can come back.”
COMING SOON: Rookies Rudy Gobert and Ian Clark are expected to return to the Jazz from their D-League assignments with the Bakersfield Jam on Sunday, Corbin said.
The first-year players will likely be in town for Monday's game and then accompany Utah on its upcoming three-game road trip to San Antonio, Detroit and Minnesota.
This is the second weeklong D-League stint for Gobert and Clark, who'd each played in seven games with the Jam heading into Saturday's matchup with Maine.
In the D-League, Clark has averaged 12.7 points on 41.4 percent shooting and 5.0 assists, while Gobert has contributed 12.6 points, 11.0 rebounds and 3.14 blocks an outing.
OFF NIGHT: With and without the mask, Williams struggled offensively against the Cavaliers in Friday’s loss. The stretch-four player only scored three points on 1-of-6 shooting.
“Just one of those days. That was the first thing my pops told me when I got off the court, ‘It’s just one of those days, huh kid?’ And I said, ‘Yeah,’” Williams said. “I’ve been around it long enough. You play enough games you’re going to have a couple of nights like that. That night’s behind me. I’m looking forward to Monday.”
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