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Utah Jazz: Williams still hopes to play in Jazz season opener

Published: Friday, Aug. 28 2015 1:54 p.m. MDT

Deron Williams did not stand.
He instead rested in one chair, his sprained left ankle propped on another.
Speaking while he sat, the injured Jazz point guard suggested he still holds out hope for playing in the team's 2008-09 NBA regular-season opener, which comes Wednesday night vs. the Denver Nuggets.
He also hinted that reality, however, prompts him to suspect the likelihood is slim at best.
"I'm not going to rule it out," Williams said. "But Doc (Jazz team physician Dr. Lyle Mason) says it's not looking too good for opening night, just the way it looks right now."
A Jazz-released timetable for Williams' anticipated absence — "a minimum of two weeks," dating to last Monday — also suggests he will miss the opener.
He very much does, however, want to overcome the odds against him.
"I'm still gonna try. I'm gonna try to get back as soon as possible," said Williams, who on Wednesday was speaking publicly about the sprain for the first time.
"I don't know how long it's going to take," he added. "It could be two weeks, it could be less, it could be more."
Williams sprained the ankle when he landed on the foot of Chicago point guard Derrick Rose after attempting a 3-point shot in the first quarter of last Saturday night's preseason road game against the Bulls.
The Jazz are calling it a second-degree inversion sprain, which by definition involves a partial ligament tear.
Williams suggested he initially feared he would be out long-term with a dislocated ankle.
"I saw it happen, and when I started to roll I looked down and saw it go all the way out," he said. "Then it popped, and it popped back in. So, I thought something slid out or I broke something. I didn't know.
"I don't know anything about injuries ... That's why I was so worried about it," Williams added. "That was the first thought, was I was going to miss the whole season. I was happy when the X-rays were negative."
Encouraged about playing again soon, too.
"I mean, it's a sprained ankle. It's not like (returning sooner rather than later) is going to do any damage further," Williams said. "It's just when I feel I can play, and when I feel I can cut off it. That's the main thing. You know, you're never gonna know until you get out there and you cut and you move like you would in a game."
The member of Team USA's gold medal-winning 2008 Olympic club addressed several issues related to his absence Wednesday, including:
• The role on the play of Rose, the No. 1 overall selection in last June's NBA Draft: "I watched it again. I mean, he was completely turned around. So, he didn't know. It wasn't on purpose."
• Backup Ronnie Price starting in his place: "We haven't talked much about it. He knows what he has to do. He knows his game. He knows what Coach (Jerry Sloan) expects. And him and Brevin (Knight, the Jazz's other reserve point) are going to do a great job, if I'm not even playing. So, I'm not worried about it in the least way. I think they're more than capable of running a team, and it will be a good experience for them."
• The Jazz having a potential leadership void when he's out: "Just because I'm not hurt doesn't mean I'm not going to be with the team. I'm still going to be there. I'm still gonna be on the sideline. So, we're gonna have leadership. That's not gonna be a problem."
Williams, who is wearing a walking boot, said the ankle remains swollen and discolored, and his foot is swollen as well.
"It's some pretty-looking colors right now," he said.
Williams said he is receiving treatment for the injury twice daily at the Jazz's practice facility, and he is icing the ankle extensively. But he still can't put full pressure on his foot — making the chance of playing a week from now seem that much less likely.
And that's what really has him down.
"I'm never happy to be out. I don't like missing games," said Williams, who played all 82 regular-season games last season. "So, I'm just gonna try to get back as soon as possible. They put that timetable, but if I can get back before that, then I'm definitely going to do everything in my power to try."
The fact the injury occurred in October and not early April alters that approach only slightly.
"I'm getting around-the-clock treatment, trying to get back as soon as possible, just like I would, probably, for the playoffs," Williams said. "I'd probably play with a lot more pain in the playoffs than I would right now, but I've still got seven more days before I know anything."

Jazz vs. Trailblazers
WHERE: EnergySolutions Arena
WHEN: Tonight, 7 p.m.
TV: KJZZ
RADIO: KFNZ 1320-AM


E-mail: tbuckley@desnews.com

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