Milwaukee • Mo Williams could return to games as early as Wednesday after he went through his first full-contact practice Sunday, one day shy of two months since he underwent surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb.
The veteran point guard has not played since Dec. 22 at Miami, and has played in just 24 games since being traded to the Jazz in the offseason.
That he is nearing a return is welcome news on an otherwise bleak injury front. Al Jefferson will miss his second game Monday at Milwaukee with a sprained left ankle, while Paul Millsap is a gametime decision with the same injury.
And while Williams said he won’t make a surprise return against the Bucks, the team he played for from 2004 to 2008, he’s getting closer.
“Obviously we’re going in the right direction,” he said. “I’m practicing now.”
On Feb. 14, Williams had two pins removed from his thumb and began his rehab in earnest. Practicing at full speed marked the final hurdle, although the 30-year-old said he requires time to get back up to speed.
“It’s hard to go out and get one full contact practice and say you’re ready to play a professional basketball game at a high level,” he said.
So, how many practices does it take? Two? Three?
Williams didn’t name a day he would return, but said he “wouldn’t be surprised” if he played Wednesday at Cleveland, another of the four cities he has played in during his 10-year career.
“We’ll see,” Williams said. “We’ll see. That would be great to play in front of those fans.”
Millsap has missed two games with an ankle sprain suffered last week against Boston, while Jefferson suffered a similar fate two nights later against Atlanta.
Millsap said participated in most of Monday’s shoot-around activities and said of his ankle, “It felt pretty good. Still not 100 percent.”
He said he won’t know if he will play until pregame warmups.
“It feels like I can get out there and play but we won’t know until I get out there,” he said.