Deron Williams confirmed he will play Tuesday night as the Brooklyn Nets host the Milwaukee Bucks, despite admitting that he needs more time to treat the inflammation in both of his ankles.
The Nets' starting point guard has missed the past two games and has been out for a week because of the All-Star break but said he doesn't have time to sit out any longer. With a 31-22 record, the Nets are currently fourth in the Eastern Conference as the team begins the second half of the season on Tuesday. He said doctors told him a week would be sufficient in allowing him to return to game-shape form, but Williams is clearly not 100 percent, according to a report Tuesday morning from Mike Mazzeo of ESPNNewYork.com:
"It definitely feels better than it did before I did it. [The doctors] said a week [of rest] was sufficient, so I trust the doctors. I definitely need more rest than a week for it to get back to normal, but I don't have time right now."
The pain is apparently so bad that Williams said he is unable to jump and cannot dunk off one foot. He said the swelling in his ankles has left him without any explosiveness and admitted that his performance has been declining recently after the first quarter:
"I can't jump -- I don't know if you've noticed -- I haven't dunked. I can't dunk Even if I tried, off one leg I can't dunk. I can dunk off two, but if I tried to jump off my left leg, I can't dunk, so it's definitely affected me. [A]ny hard impact, or hard move, it hurts. I do a good job getting it warmed up, so the first quarter is usually great, a lot of good first quarters and then I go and sit down, it stiffens up. It's hard to get back going. It's definitely been a concern."
Williams has been bothered by lingering ankle and wrist injuries all season, but has missed only three games so far after signing a five-year, $98 million contract with the Nets over this past summer. The ankle injuries are nothing new for the three-time All-Star; before the season began, he was given a cortisone shot to his left ankle after a bone spur caused inflammation in the area. After this season wraps up, Williams said he expects to undergo surgery to have his ankle cleaned up. Though his playing time has remained virtually the same this off-season, Williams is playing with a number of new teammates and his statistics have taken a hit. In 36 minutes per game this season, he is averaging 16.7 points on 41 percent shooting to go along with 7.6 assists and 3.3 rebounds.