The plan all along was for Deron Williams to miss the majority of the preseason for the Nets after suffering a sprained ankle, but to be ready to go by the time the regular season begins on October 30.
But Williams has been slow to recover, and after dealing with ankle issues that limited him for much of last season, Brooklyn isn’t in any hurry to rush him back.
Jason Kidd has already broached the possibility that Williams may not be ready for opening night, and one of the Nets’ newest veterans, Paul Pierce, doesn’t want to see his teammate try to come back before he’s feeling 100 percent.
The question now is: Will Williams go forward enough to play in a game this week, or in the season opener next week? That remains to be seen. When he spoke to reporters Friday, Williams said part of what has allowed him to remain patient has been conversations with Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry about understanding that it’s how he feels in May and June that matters, as opposed to October and November.
For Pierce, after seeing the Celtics suffer at least one significant injury each year since winning the title in 2008, it’s a message he has learned from experience.
“Why come back when you’re only 75, 80 percent? Then you come back and you go back down to 50 percent,” Pierce said. “We’d rather see a guy take all the rest that he needs and get to 100 percent so he’s ready to go.”
We seem to be hearing this line of thinking more and more from teams that plan on contending for a title, or at the very least have aspirations of making a bit of a run in the postseason.
There’s no reason at all to come back early less than healthy if you’re a key player on a team slated to make the playoffs. The regular season is a long grind, and the teams that are the healthiest at the end are often the ones who see the most positive results.
The Nets will continue to play it smart where Williams is concerned, and Pierce made it clear that his new veteran teammates will support that decision.