Cleveland • Mo Williams has been upgraded to a game-time decision and said he expects to play Wednesday as the Jazz try to reverse their recent woes against the Cavaliers.
The 10-year veteran has missed 32 games since tearing ligaments in his right thumb on Dec. 22 a period in which the Jazz went 18-14. However, they have lost four of their last five, including a 109-108 overtime heartbreaker on Monday in Milwaukee.
"He’s the point guard that we’ve counted out right from the beginning of the year," coach Tyrone Corbin said, "so to get him back would be a great boost for us."
The Jazz will take any and all boosts at this point. Al Jefferson will likely miss his third straight game after doing little in practice on Tuesday and only lightly participating in Wednesday’s shoot around, Corbin said.
He is officially listed as doubtful.
In 24 games, Williams averaged 12.9 points and 6.7 assists. He underwent surgery on Jan. 3 to repair ligaments, and had two pins removed from his thumb on Feb. 13.
In a way, it’s fitting Williams’ return could come in Cleveland, where he was an All-Star for the Cavs in 2009.
He had his first full-contact practice on Sunday, and has gone at full speed since. All of that makes Wednesday appear to be the magic day.
"I expect to play, yeah," he said. "Barring three hours [until going back to the arena] anything can go wrong. But I don’t see that happening."
If he plays, Corbin said Williams will likely start.
Corbin said Williams has gotten the strength back in his hands and that "after he’s worked out there’s not been as much discomfort in his thumb the next day."
The Jazz hope Williams’ return brings a boost to early scoring. Production from the starting lineup has plummeted, with Randy Foye, Earl Watson and Marvin Williams combining to go 0-for-15 on Monday.
Williams was asked particularly about the impact getting Mo Williams back could have on Marvin Williams, but his response could apply to any of the others, as well.
"We haven’t been able to get many easy baskets," he said. "If you’re always under stress when you’re getting shots, puts a little more pressure on you. So we’ve got to find a way to get some easy baskets."
Earlier in the week Corbin had hinted at changes to the starting lineup, but Mo Williams’ return and Jefferson’s absence could delay that.
"We’ll see," he said when asked about his plans for the starters.
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