Mo Williams returned to the Jazz on Tuesday, his surgically repaired thumb in a cast, with a sobering message that his return to the team could be months rather than weeks away.
The Jazz’s starting point guard has not played since Dec. 22 when he collided with Heat guard Mario Chalmers in a loss at Miami. Originally listed with a “severely sprained” right thumb, Williams underwent surgery Friday in New York for what he revealed Tuesday was a “complete tear” of a ligament he also tore in 2008.
“Just like last time,” Williams said. “The only difference was it actually pulled a little piece of the bone with it this time.”
The official word on Williams has been that he will be re-evaluated after six weeks of rehabilitation. However, Williams said Tuesday that the six-week mark, which would be Feb. 15, the Friday of All-Star weekend, is merely when the pin in his thumb will be removed.
“That’s when the rehab really starts,” he said.
Williams added: “That timeline can be long, can be short. We’re going to fight to get back and we’re going to listen to [trainer Gary Briggs] and the guys and we’re going to make the right decision.”
Williams, who never has played a full slate of games during his 10-year career, is more than familiar with what that rehab entails, thanks to his 2008 injury. That surgery, like Friday’s, was performed by hand specialist Dr. Michelle Carlson in New York.
Williams flew back to Salt Lake City on Monday and arrived at EnergySolutions Arena as the Jazz began their game against the Dallas Mavericks, an eventual 100-94 win.
“It’s frustrating to watch,” Williams said. “It’s better to watch when they win. When they lose and they struggle you always feel like you can lend a hand, and that frustrates you the most.”
It’s not all bad news, though. Williams said he watched the game in the locker room on a TV set up next to another. He watched his alma mater, the University of Alabama, win the NCAA football championship 42-14 over Notre Dame on TV No. 2.
“Roll Tide,” Williams said.
Another Williams out
The Jazz announced Tuesday that they will be down a second starter for their three-game road trip, which starts with Wednesday’s game in Charlotte.
Marvin Williams will sit out the three games — including at Atlanta, where he spent the first seven years of his career with the Hawks — so the team can evaluate how he responds to treatment on his inflamed right knee.
Marvin Williams left Monday’s game but was listed as available to return. He sat out a Dec. 30 loss at the Clippers to rest the knee, and he said as recently as Monday night that it felt strong enough to play on.
However, he missed Tuesday’s practice to meet with team orthopedist Dr. Lyle Mason. Unlike Mo Williams, he will travel with the team on its road trip.
The 26-year-old has struggled since joining the Jazz, his averages dipping to 8.9 points and 3.5 rebounds per game. However, he has been a key defender and timely shooter.
The Jazz are 0-4 in games without Williams, who was sidelined in late November and early December by concussion-like symptoms.
That’s a rap
The Jazz beat the Mavericks on Monday thanks to being able to beat Dallas at its own game: When the Mavs got physical, so did the Jazz — only better.
Dallas center Chris Kaman was called for a flagrant foul when he dragged Al Jefferson to the ground after hooking him around the neck.
However, Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said in postgame interviews that the Jazz won by “thugging it up.”
Told of that message Tuesday, Tyrone Corbin said he had “no thoughts.”
His backup point guard, however, had one on Carlisle.
“I think [he’s been] listening to too much rap music,” Earl Watson said.
“Thuggin It Up” is a 1996 hip hop single by MC Eiht.
“I think they [the Mavericks] was a physical team first,” Watson said. “I think we had a lot of players hit the ground hard. It was all good fouls, no one was dirty, maybe the Kaman foul around Al’s neck. I don’t know what he did, but it didn’t look right. That would have been the only dirty play of the game.”
The Jazz were whistled for four fewer fouls (22 to 26) than the Mavs and attempted 16 more free throws (36) than Dallas’ 20.