According to Mike Mazzeo of ESPN New York, Brooklyn Nets point guard Deron Williams is playing with a sprained joint in his right wrist. The injury was reportedly sustained while Williams attempted to brace himself for a fall against the Los Angeles Clippers on Nov. 23.
For those familiar with Williams, this is not the first time his wrist has been injured and that's exactly why Brooklyn must be cautious with their superstar.
Williams underwent surgery to remove three bone fragments and scar tissue from his right wrist on April 11, 2011 (via ESPN New York). This creates the concern that Williams has not properly healed from a surgery that was considered to be intensive.
When interviewed about the injury, Mazzeo reports that Williams played it off as if it were minor.
"When I went up against Blake Griffin [to try to dunk the ball] I landed on it. I came down and braced my fall with the right wrist, and I jammed it," Williams said after the Nets defeated the rival New York Knicks 96-89 in overtime Monday night at Barclays Center.
"...it doesn't have anything to do with the surgery... I just kind of sprained a joint, so it's been a little bit sore," he said.
Although one might be inclined to believe he knows his body best, there is no way around how concerning this injury is. We're just 13 games into the Nets' season, leaving 69 regular season games and additional postseason outings for D-Will to aggravate said ailment.
Considering this season is so young, D-Will and the Nets must consider offering the point guard time to rest. This is especially necessary when considering this isn't D-Will's first injury of the season.
News of bone spurs in his left ankle became available on Nov. 1 (via ESPN New York).
For that reason, a cautious approach must be taken by the Brooklyn franchise. That is, if they hope to maximize the value of their greatest investment come the postseason.
Direct Impact on Production
For those who believe that Deron Williams will be able to fight through this injury, stop yourself. No matter how powerful Williams' will to fight through pain may be, there is no way around one very important fact.
This injury is having a direct impact on Williams' production.
Thus far this season Williams' solid averages of 16.7 points and 8.9 assists per game are marred by a slash line of .394/.265/.876. No matter how hard fans try to defend his play, this is the second consecutive injury-ridden season that is damaging Williams' shooting.
According to Mazzeo's previously referenced report, D-Will knows it.
"I still haven't shot the ball well," Williams said. "I'm just trying to get through these little nagging injuries, so hopefully I can shoot a little bit better and help my team a little bit more. I'm just trying to do the little things, get everybody involved, play solid defense and help my team win."
The Nets are 9-4 and Williams is doing all he can to overcome his poor shooting performances.
Considering he's making less than 40 percent of his shots, however, Williams' performances can be relatively damaging.
The Brooklyn Nets may be 9-4, but they are far from where they desire to be.
The Nets rank 19th in the league with 95.6 points per game. They rank 17th by shooting 44.5 percent from the floor and 23rd at 32.5 percent from beyond the arc.
A major reason is Williams' shortcomings as a shooter and Joe Johnson's similar struggles. Johnson has posted an equally underwhelming slash line of .392/.361/.829.
With Johnson continuing to struggle, that makes it all the more important for Williams to step up as a scorer. Unfortunately the wrist injury is preventing Williams from doing so and thus neutralizing an elite perimeter tandem.
A Scattered 28
During the 2010-'11 and 2011-'12 NBA seasons, Deron Williams missed a total of 28 games. This has come over six different periods of time in which Williams has missed multiple games of play.
In other words, Williams has missed extended periods of time throughout each of these past two seasons due to consistent minor injuries.
Sidelining him early in the season and planning his minutes cautiously could lead to a full recovery, which his team could greatly benefit from.
If they don't, Williams' poor shooting could continue and the Nets will inevitably suffer.