Jay Williams Back on the Court
By Benjy Lipsman in News on Jul 22, 2005 8:45PM
As a Bulls fan and Duke fan, the news hit Chicagoist pretty hard when Jay Williams wrecked his new motorcycle in June 2003 and suffered life-threatening injuries. Having been picked second overall in the 2002 NBA draft, Williams had recently finished his rookie season with the Bulls and was expected to be a cornerstone of their rebuilding.
But the accident changed everything. After making it past the critical stages, Williams still had to deal with numerous severe injuries that threatened to keep him from ever walking again, let alone resume his NBA career -- Williams has suffered a fractured pelvis, three torn knee ligaments and nerve damage in his leg.
Meanwhile, the Bulls had to quickly change direction for the 2003 draft. They selected Kirk Hinrich -- another point guard. A clear signal of their fears about Williams.
Jay Endured seven surgeries to repair damage to his hip, knee and ankle. He spent months rehabbing those injuries. And now, he's back on the court. Williams has been working with Michael Jordan's trainer, Tim Grover, since April. Their daily regimen has included hours of physical therapy along with conditioning and game play against college players. On Thursday, for the first time, the media was allowed to watch and see Williams' progress.
After August 1, Grover expects Williams to play against stiffer competition. The NBA players don't play and risk injury until they've inked their new contracts. Once those are signed, however, players frequent Hoops the Gym. Williams will see if he still has what it takes to play in the NBA. He and Grover are confident that he'll find a place on an NBA roster come October.
It's unlikely, however, to be with the Bulls. They already bought out the remainder of his rookie contract and their roster is already pretty full of undersized guards with Hinrich, Ben Gordon and Chris Duhon -- Williams' successor as Duke's point guard. Chicagoist wouldn't mind the Bulls bringing Williams back instead of Jannero Pargo. His full court game and skills fit the new Bulls mold better than Pargo's shoot first, no defense play. He might not be as good a shooter, but the Bulls are also interested in bringing back Tony Kucoc, who could fill that scorer roll off the bench. And maybe he could even get Duhon to push him around again!
Photos via Yahoo!News and USA Today