SALT LAKE CITY — Marvin Williams anticipated that he might have a minor issue with his surgically repaired right foot this season.
The Utah Jazz forward endured playing through pain in the second half of the season and underwent surgery on his Achilles' heel in June. He’d felt pretty good — and played well, too — after returning from his rehab until his heel started bothering him last Friday against Phoenix.
“I expected some tough days. I kinda figured I’d have a little setback at some point of the season,” Williams said. “It just came a little sooner than I thought it would.”
Williams played through the pain in the Jazz’s back-to-back wins Saturday in Phoenix and Monday at home against Houston, but he’s now sidelined and sporting a walking boot.
Williams missed Wednesday’s game against Indiana and is uncertain when he’ll return again. A bone scan by the Jazz medical staff Tuesday revealed that the 6-foot-9 athlete has calcaneal (heel bone) inflammation in his right foot.
Finding that out was a bit of a relief to Williams, who's averaged 10.4 points and 5.2 rebounds in 13 games.
“It’s not my actual Achilles, which is good news,” he said.
The bad news?
“My heel’s really inflamed right now,” he said. “It’s causing a lot of discomfort, putting a lot of pressure on my foot right now.”
Williams believes the “daily grind” of practicing and playing on that foot led to the injury. He can’t recall a specific moment when it started hurting.
“The Houston game,” he said, “was pretty difficult for me to play.”
It’s almost even harder to not play.
“The most difficult thing is to be away from your team. We’re kind of getting on a roll right here,” Williams said after receiving treatment during the Jazz’s shootaround Wednesday morning. “Obviously, I have to sit out, so it kind of messes things up a little bit. That’s the most frustrating thing.”
UNDER THE WEATHER: Forward Jeremy Evans also missed Wednesday's game. He played Monday has been battling the flu and didn't practice Tuesday.
It's uncertain whether Williams or Evans will be available for the Jazz's game Friday at Portland.
TESTING FRIENDSHIPS: It’s no secret that Gordon Hayward grew up a fan of the Indiana Pacers, who play just minutes away from his hometown of Brownsburg. The former Butler star laughed while saying he has buddies in Indianapolis who keep him updated on how well his childhood team has been doing.
“I have some friends that are big Pacers fans. They’ve been giving me heat the whole season about it,” Hayward said Wednesday morning. “It’s cool when we get to play them so me and my friends can trash talk about it.”
Other than that, though, Hayward said it’s not as big of a deal as it used to be to play against the franchise he used to root for during the Reggie Miller era. He did say it’s a fun challenge going against the team with the NBA’s best record.
“It’s special this time,” he said, “because (they’re) one of the best teams in the league. As a basketball player, you’ve got to get excited about those types of opportunities.”
COLD FEET? Jazz center Enes Kanter got teased for wearing open-toed sandals and no socks as he exited the arena Wednesday morning following shootaround. Kanter was jokingly asked about sporting flip flops in the snow and cold. He smiled. It’s no biggie for him, he said. “I’m from Turkey.”
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