RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Brooklyn Nets guard Deron Williams left the team's practice court about 40 minutes after official practice ended, dripping in sweat and clearly out of breath, after running through his first full practice with the team since injuring his ankle last Friday night against the Phoenix Suns, breathing out non-derisive snorts of acknowledgment before actual answers.
Well, it took him a second. Words soon followed.
After a confirmatory noise that he played through the team's entire two-hour practice plus voluntary shooting drills, Williams said he felt "great" and that he should play Wednesday night against the Charlotte Bobcats without any restrictions. The 3-7 Nets hope that Williams doesn't suffer any setbacks, and that he's playing like the D-Will they saw in the second half of last season.
Since defeating the defending champion Miami Heat on November 1st, the Nets have fallen apart, losing six of their last eight games. In that timeframe, opponents have outscored them by over six points per 100 possessions, the seventh-worst mark in the league. Williams missed just the last two games, but has played on a minutes restriction throughout the season after injuring his ankle during offseason workouts.
"(There's) a sense of urgency," Williams said. "We've got to turn it around, fast. We've dug ourselves a bit of a hole and now it's time to fight out of it. ... Everybody's been out of their rhythm, that's been a little bit of the problem. We haven't shot the ball well and we've allowed that to dictate what we do on the defensive end."