The Follow-Through: Post-PRP, Williams Resting Ankles
INDIANAPOLIS—Deron Williams, suffering from synovitis in both ankles, will be out through the All-Star break.
That was the news borne of a pregame press release, and further clarified by Brooklyn Nets General Manager Billy King before Monday's 89-84 overtime victory against the Pacers. King said that Williams had been slated for platlet-rich plasma therapy to help treat the injury – an inflammation of the joint linings – during the upcoming five-day break between games. After consulting with team doctors following Sunday's loss to the Spurs, all agreed to acclerate the schedule to offer Williams more time to rest.
"Deron’s frustrated because he’s not playing like he’s capable of playing," King said. "I think this will give him a chance to get some time off, rest his ankles, do the PRP and get back out there."
Williams was diagnosed with bone spur in his left ankle late in the preseason, when an initial synovitis flare up led to an MRI revealing the spur. The point guard then received a cortisone shot, and had been playing through the injury since. Over time, King said, the right ankle began to bother Williams as well.
King said Williams seemed to lack the explosiveness he'd played with in years past, when the now-28-year-old's name would often be bandied in tandem with then-Hornets point guard Chris Paul. Belief in the merits of those "Who's No. 1?" debates fuel King's confidence that a healthy Williams will return to peak performance.
Utilizing the example of Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony, whose absence due to injury enabled the rise of "Linsanity" last season, King pointed out that questions began to abound regarding Anthony's potential to help the Knicks moving forward. With Anthony now posting career-best numbers and New York atop the Atlantic, the debates seem frivolous and distant.
"It’s not a concern," King said. "Kobe (Bryant) has had the blood-platelet spinning on his knees, and other guys have had it. Matter of fact, there’s a player – I was talking to a GM – that was flying to (Hospital for Special Surgery) to get it done today. It happens. So let’s not make this a bigger issue than it is. Let’s let him get through this, have a week off and get back to playing basketball."
With Williams sidelined, rookie guard Tyshawn Taylor took full advantage of an opportunity he didn't want to pass him by. In a career-best 34 minutes, Taylor posted 12 points (5-9 FGs), two rebounds and two assists. He also played all of the fourth quarter and overtime.
"He's fearless," said teammate Joe Johnson. "Whenever he gets in the game, we know he's going to shoot the basketball. He don't do nothing else but put it up, ha. In clutch situations, it's almost like he didn't know the significance of the game, like he didn't know the time and the score – I'm like, 'What are you doing?!' A couple shots he shot, it's better to be lucky ..."
Johnson was referring to Taylor's overtime baskets: one a blind turnaround 20-footer while moving away from the basket; the other a circus shot bailing Taylor out of a drive into traffic. The former shot came with four seconds remaining on the shot clock, because as other Nets realized Taylor was unaware of the shortening window, they began imploring him to shoot.
He did, it was good, things worked out. Taylor's postgame interview with the YES Network was short-circuited when Gerald Wallace greeted him with a hug and a gleefully colorful congratulatory phrase.
The ribbing didn't stop there, with vets instructing Taylor not to kepe the media waiting, to stand for his interview and to straighten up his shirt before beginning. They deemed him passable, and playfully jabbed when given cause to discuss Taylor's contributions during their own interviews. Taylor's smile wavered not once, only growing wider at every exchange.
"I'm happy for him," Johnson said. "A guy who comes in and works hard and gets an opportunity to play, and not only play, but play in a clutch and crucial situation, he was big for us tonight."
Visit the Nets vs. Pacers Game Center for a full recap of Monday's 89-84 OT victory.