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Hawks: Back injury could sideline Williams for rest of season


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So much for going far in the playoffs... -_-

Back injury could sideline Williams for rest of season

By SEKOU SMITH

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Marvin Williams can’t remember exactly what happened. However, if a back injury costs the Hawks’ starting small forward significant time, you can bet he’ll go over one play in his mind again and again.

“I remember getting up off the floor and coming back down on defense and my back just locked up,” Williams said about a play Saturday against Detroit.

Williams, who is listed as out indefinitely, is scheduled to see specialists at Duke University Wednesday. A final decision on his status could come by the end of the week. Surgery could be an option.

Williams missed Monday’s win over New Orleans. He’ll sit out Wednesday’s game against Utah at Philips Arena. He could potentially miss many more games.

Still, there he was at practice today, standing under the basket smiling as his teammates went through shooting drills. Even if the prospects for a return before the end of the season look grim, Williams is holding out hope.

“You always want to be on the court,” he said. “Our team is having a great season and I’ve been a part of this so far. So, of course, you want to continue to contribute and to help out in any way you can.”

The Hawks have the second toughest remaining schedule in the NBA — only Houston faces more winning teams down the stretch — and will examine every option.

The Hawks already have 15 players on their roster, so if Williams is out for an extended period they’ll have to tap into the bench for his replacement. Another option would be to cut a player and search the free-agent market for a replacement.

“There’s nothing we can do until he gets the proper examinations that allow him to feel good about making a decision about which way he wants to go,” Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. “He’s still walking gingerly but at least he’s up and on his feet. That’s always a good sign. A back injury is one of those things that’s really tricky. The most important thing is for Marvin to make the decision that’s best for him.”

No one knows that better than Woodson. Twenty-nine years ago a back injury derailed his senior season at Indiana. He had a ruptured disc that ultimately required surgery and sat out eight weeks.

“I didn’t want to have any surgery because I was projected to go in the top 10 of the draft and didn’t want to mess that up,” Woodson said. “But I couldn’t hide the pain. I started having neurological problems with this pain shooting down my leg. I ended up having a procedure that my doctor told me beforehand would give me a 50-50 chance of coming back and playing.

“I took those odds. Eight weeks later I was back playing and it never affected my pro career.”

Compared to Woodson, Williams’ injury could require only rest. If it did require surgery, advances in technology would likely reduce the risk and shorten his recovery time.

The dilemma, however, remains the same.

“I hope by the end of this week I’ll have a definite answer of what’s going on and what my next move is,” Williams said. “Because this season has the potential to be our best since I’ve been here and our best in a long time. It’s tough, but we’ve lost guys to injuries this season and guys have stepped up and played. So these guys will have to do the same until I’m able to get back out there.”

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This is going to be a big blow to this team. Marvin was becoming very reliable on offense. More important than that was the good defense he played. It look like JJ will be playing more SF now. I hope Smoove has his head on straight and focus. We need him to play with the energy he has the last two games for every game remaining. Just hope he isn't fumbling around like he was in the Hornets game. :lol:

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Ok now it's time for someone else to step up and that's all there is to it. The fact that so many people say, "we have to have Marvin" is incredibly weak. Just because a guy goes down doesn't mean that the season is over and all of your work and effort you put forth is for nothing.

There are alot of different lineups that Woodson can put out there that can still be effective. I for one wouldn't mind seeing Z at the 5 and sliding Horford and Smith down to the 4 and the 3. Hopefully Horfords back to the basket game can hold up and we can play from the inside out. Smith is probably a more natural 3 and I am sure that Horford is a more natural 4 so two guys get to show what they can do at more natural positions. Z has shown some fire in his ability to rebound on both ends and he's actually playing a little rugged now which I like. When you have guys who put up shots at the rate that Joe and Bibby do you can use a guy who doesn't command the ball.

Also Flip, Joe and Mike being on the floor at the same time looks good because you have some scoring punch to keep you from going into an offensive lull.

Just starting Mo Evans at the three seems to be working as well because everyone stays put at their positions and Mo is an effort defenders who knocks down the outside shot not to mention the Hawks are now 9-1 when he starts.

The team is still deep enough to go just as far as they were before Marvin went down IMO and the minutes should open up for some other guys like Acie and Solo to come in and show if they can really play at this level.

Just going off of the most likely lineup as of now you have:

Bibby/Law/Claxton

Johnson/Murray/Gardner

Evans/West

Smith/Jones/Hunter

Horford/Pachulia/Morris

I really like the intensity that Murray plays with off of the bench and for a short spurt you should be able to rest Joe without a major drop off in points but Woodson has to be able to trust Acie to come in and run the team productively like he did against the Hornets (he hit that open 3 and looked like a different player after that).

You will laugh but it's possible that maybe even Speedy will hit the floor for us sometime this year if we don't sign a FA to replace Marvin.

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