EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Add yet another injury to Deron Williams' extensive history.
An MRI taken Thursday revealed a fracture of the cartilage portion of the left 12th rib, and the point guard will be out indefinitely, the Nets announced. Williams, initially injured in the waning minutes of Sunday's loss in Miami, is expected to be re-evaluated in a week, meaning he'll miss Friday night's game against the 76ers and at least three games after that.
Williams' diagnosis caps a tough last few days. After Sunday's game, he said his left side locked up and that he was told he had something akin to a severe cramp and that electrolytes would help. He was listed as probable leading into Monday's loss to Dallas, but word came down before tipoff that he was out. After being listed as doubtful for Wednesday's loss to the Celtics, he was deemed available about two hours before the opening tip. He played four minutes, was scoreless and reinjured himself on a non-contact play after making a pass.
"Deron reported some soreness above this area over the weekend and as a result underwent imaging studies on Monday, which were negative," team physician Riley Williams III said in a statement. "[Wednesday] during the game, he reported a new onset of symptoms below the prior area of soreness. New imaging studies done [Thursday] demonstrated the fracture. There is no timetable for his return."
Since returning from a left quadriceps injury suffered against the Cavaliers Dec. 19, an ailment that cost him two games, Williams had come off the bench, averaging 9.3 points, 4.8 assists and 22.2 minutes in six games before Wednesday. His uncertain prognosis means coach Lionel Hollins has to further rely on Jarrett Jack and Joe Johnson and run the offense through them, something he prefers not to do because he thinks the extra minutes both logged in the past two games already have created enough of a grind. In the last three contests, Johnson averaged 41.5 minutes per game, Jack 41.0.
"I think we are going to have to alleviate that. We've got to alleviate Joe playing 40 minutes a night as well," Hollins said. "The games have been close and we've been right there, but at some point I've got to let up."
Jack said the training staff didn't let him practice Thursday to help in the recovery process as the Nets embark on a stretch of six games in nine days. But as he sported a slightly puffy upper lip, courtesy of an inadvertent blow from Celtics center Tyler Zeller, he didn't leave any doubt about his thoughts.
"I'm never going to give in to fatigue," said Jack, 31. "But Coach always does a good job of monitoring our minutes, trying to make sure we are fresh so we can go out there and be able to consistently go out there and perform, especially over the course of 48 minutes. So if that's what he decides to do, then definitely I'm all for it and I'm definitely confident in him doing it."
Notes & quotes: Markel Brown and Cory Jefferson were recalled from the Maine Red Claws of the NBA D-League.