Jazz point guard Deron Williams still holds out hope for playing in the team's 2008-09 NBA regular-season opener, which comes next Wednesday night vs. the Denver Nuggets.

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.

Williams has a sprained left ankle, sustained when he landed on foot of Chicago 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.

Williams said he initially feared he would be out for the entire season.

"I heard something pop, so I thought first thing I had dislocated my ankle," said Williams, who today was speaking publicly about the sprain for the first time. "I don't know anything about injuries. But that was the first thing I was worried about. That was the first thought: I was going to miss the whole season."

Williams, who is wearing a walking boot, said the ankle remains swollen and discolored, and his foot is swollen as well.

He is receiving treatment for the injury twice daily, and is icing the ankle around the clock, but he still can't put pressure on his foot — making the chance of playing a week from now seem that much less likely.

"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 going to 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."

Williams also fully exonerated Rose, the No. 1 overall selection in last June's NBA Draft, from having any responsibility for the injury.

E-mail: tbuckley@desnews.com