On the day the Nets played their arch-rivals, the Knicks, the team announced that Deron Williams would undergo wrist surgery and not play the rest of the season.
Williams was expected to undergo his procedure on Friday but a scheduling conflict pushed it back until Monday. The operation, expected to take place at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan, was planned to remove bone fragments and scar tissue in the wrist. Team general manager Billy King explained a more precise MRI Wednesday uncovered the particles.
Williams came to the Nets in a surprise blockbuster trade Feb. 23 and he played 12 games following the deal. But Williams arrived with a strained right wrist tendon which he aggravated several times. The injury wore on Williams physically and mentally. He repeatedly admitted frustration at not being able to do the things he wanted. Still he played superbly at times. In his last game of the season, he tied his career-high of 21 assists.
"I go back and look at games when we were whole, not when the trade was first made but after a couple of games," said coach Avery Johnson. "I have some pretty good thoughts on how we looked and where we were but I understand clearly what we need. But Deron left with a bang -- 21 assists. That was pretty good and we won the game. But we clearly know where we are."
With some potentially serious labor strife looming for next season, the Nets are hopeful that Williams will be back to lead the team into Brooklyn in 2012. Williams can opt out of the final year of his deal and become a free agent after next season.
So that is a major down-the-road question for the franchise. The Nets seem confident they will be able to get Williams long-term. They know what he means. For now, all thoughts have been on getting him healthy. He underwent a second MRI Wednesday -- he had one when he first arrived -- and the latest exam uncovered bone fragments and scar tissue which needed to be removed.
"I'm just glad we found it and he's going to have the procedure done and we can get it behind us," Johnson said. "Hopefully, he won't have to deal with this at another point in his career."
KNICKS 116, NETS 93: The Nets were down four starters -- Deron Williams, Anthony Morrow, Damion James and Kris Humphries -- for their hype game with the area rival Knicks. And although the Knicks were without Amar'e Stoudemire, the likes of 25-point scorer Carmelo Anthony more than compensated. And so the Nets, with another makeshift rotation, were overwhelmed as the Knicks completed their season-series sweep. Brook Lopez led the Nets with 27 points.
Copyright (C) 2011 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.