It’s becoming increasingly clear to me that Justin Williams might far exceed my expectations for his return. Since his injury, I’ve considered the idea that he might return this season to be doubtful at best, but given the way he has looked in practice for the past few days, I’d have to change my opinion of that.
Williams made it through his first full practice on Monday morning and accompanied the Kings on their two-game road trip. Williams still has quite a bit of conditioning work to do, but injured players typically don’t travel, so Williams’ presence on the road indicates that the Kings are very serious about his return. Everyone is staying tight-lipped about a possible return date — and Williams stressed that he will not play during this two-game trip — but Williams is progressing very well.
The doctors might have helped. After practice, Williams explained his injury — which is technically a broken bone in his leg and stretched ankle ligaments, not a broken ankle — and how a newer procedure might have helped his recovery time.
WILLIAMS: “There’s the tibia, and then the fibula on the side. Those bones join together at the ankle. Those bones are joined by ligaments, which I stretched, and they spread out. What they usually do is, they take screws and tighten it up, and take the screws out eight weeks later. In this, they basically put in a plate with buttons on it, and they cinch it tight. They wrap it around and pull it, so there are no screws involved. They just pull it and tighten it up to where it needs to be and tie it in a knot and wait. This way, the screws don’t need to be taken out. The plate stays in there. It’s attached to the bone, and that will just stay in there. But there’s no screws going into the tibia, which is what they would usually do.”
WILLIAMS: “I did as much research as I could on this. I had a goal in mind for myself, and it just helps me drive forward every day. Surprisingly, it’s like right around where I thought it would be.”