Nets' Deron Williams expects to return against Knicks Monday
While his teammates were seeing the London sights and bringing NBA joy to the overseas market last week, Deron Williams stayed stateside, rehabbing from his latest ankle injury.
But it appears as though Williams' time on the trainer's table might be over. The guard will be a game-time decision today when the Nets face the Knicks at Madison Square Garden, coach Jason Kidd said after practice Sunday.
"We'll see how he feels after practice today and go from there," Kidd said.
After leaving the practice floor, Williams said he felt "all right" and expects to play.
"That's the plan," he said.
Williams, who is averaging 13.6 points and 6.9 assists in 22 games this season, has missed the Nets' past five games. He last played on Jan. 4, when he logged 38 minutes in a win over Cleveland. Kidd did not specify any minutes limit on Williams but indicated that his floor time will be less than it had been in the two games before he was sidelined.
"We won't roll him out there and play him 38 minutes," Kidd said. "So we'll see."
Williams also wouldn't speculate about how many minutes he will play. "Just going to see how it feels," he said. "No real expectations. I don't think any limitations. Just go out there and play."
Williams said that while the Nets were in London, he spent his time getting "a lot of treatment, working out and trying to get healthy." He said missing the team's trip overseas was tough.
"[London] is one of my favorite cities," Williams said. "I like to visit there. I wanted to be with the team, but they felt it was best for me to stay back here and just focus on getting treatments."
The Nets have won six of their last seven games, and Williams' teammates are excited to welcome him back.
"It's always good to have your floor general back," Andray Blatche said.
Joe Johnson said he does not expect Williams' return to upset any sort of continuity that the team has developed. "We just got to keep playing hard, move the basketball and make the game easy," he said. "It shouldn't be difficult at all."
Johnson added that Williams' return will only increase the Nets' depth. "It'll be great," he said. "[He's] another guy who can really put pressure on the defense and make plays and help us out. Right now, we're really battling with one point guard, Shaun Livingston. If we get Deron back, that'll really mean a lot."
Livingston agreed. "He's going to fit in," he said. "We all know what he can bring to the table. It's just getting back into game shape. That's going to be the biggest component. We're ready to welcome him back, though."
In their only previous meeting this season, the Knicks beat the Nets, 113-83, at Barclays Center on Dec. 5. "We definitely owe those guys from last game," Williams said.
Said Blatche, "They beat us at home, so it's time to return the favor."