By Ben Golliver
Following a second magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test and a consultation between Dr. Michelle Carlson and the Utah Jazz medical staff, it was determined that Williams will undergo surgery on his right thumb on Friday, January 4. Following the procedure, his thumb will be placed in a splint for approximately six weeks, at which point he will be re-evaluated. Williams will be able to participate in conditioning and restricted weight training during this time period.
If Williams misses exactly six weeks, he will be sidelined for Utah's next 21 games.
The Salt Lake Tribune reported Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin's reaction.
"He’s disappointed in the fact he has to have surgery," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. "He thought he was feeling better and he would be able to come back soon, but it was the smart thing to do and it’s the right thing to do for him. His doctors advised him, and we agreed."
Williams suffered the injury, which was original diagnosed as a sprain, while defending Mario Chalmers during the second quarter of a Dec. 22 game at Miami. As Chalmers attacked the paint driving to his left, Williams swiped at the ball with his right hand and immediately reacted as if in pain. Williams left that game after playing just 16 minutes and hasn't appeared in the Jazz's last five games. Utah has gone 2-3 without him during that stretch.
Corbin has turned to veteran point guard tandem of Jamaal Tinsley and Earl Watson in Williams' absence. Williams, 30, has played 31.4 minutes per night this season, averaging 12.9 points and 6.7 assists, so there are a bunch of minutes for both Tinsley and Watson to soak up. Second-year scoring guard Alec Burks, who had been patiently waiting for an opportunity to play, has also seen his playing time increase since Williams went down.
Earlier this season, Williams hit a dramatic buzzer-beater to top the Spurs. The Jazz acquired from the Clippers over the summer in a multi-team trade that landed Lamar Odom in Los Angeles. Williams, making $8.5 million in the final year of his contract, stepped in as the starting point guard for Corbin after the Jazz traded Devin Harris to the Hawks for small forward Marvin Williams. He will be an unrestricted free agent next summer. Video via YouTube user NBAShowTimeHD