Chicago •Â At shootaround Friday morning, Utah Jazz coach Ty Corbin said Saturday might be the night Marvin Williams ended the longest layoff of his career.
The Jazz forward didn't have to wait quite that long after all.
Williams, who spent last year battling with soreness in his heel before opting for surgery in May, returned to the court Friday night against the Chicago Bulls.
"It felt good, man," said Williams, who hit a 3-pointer on his first attempt of the night. "I felt really good. I haven't played basketball in five months. I felt like I was OK out there. I had some turnovers, but I think that comes with getting used to the guys and my timing's a little bit off."
Williams played just under 11 minutes in the 97-73 loss. He went 0 for 4 after hitting his first shot and finished with one rebound, one assist and three turnovers.
Williams said he feels "confident in my Achilles now" and said he didn't feel any pain Friday.
"No pain, thankfully," he said. "I'm a little stiff. They said that's to be expected. I'm sure I'll be a little more stiff tomorrow."
The news comes just a few days after guard Brandon Rush made his Jazz debut after rehabbing from a knee injury that ended his 2012-13 season after just two games.
"Just the bodies alone will change things," Williams said. "You've got a lot of guys playing a ton of minutes right now."
Corbin will be careful integrating both players. After Rush played 10 minutes Tuesday in Brooklyn, he was held out of a game against Boston the next night.
Rush was expected to play Friday but decided before the game he was not ready.
"It's going to take them a while to get the game feel back and the speed of the game back," Corbin said. "But it's good to see we're starting to get more bodies. â¦ Those two guys give us an opportunity to go small and get a little faster once we get them full speed."
For Jazz fans, Friday's matchup was a chance to see a familiar face: Carlos Boozer.
But the ex-Utah forward isn't too familiar with this Jazz roster. With the departure of Paul Millsap this offseason, not one player remains on the team from the time Boozer played for the Jazz from 2004-10.
"It's changed," Corbin said. "The last few years, there's been a lot of changes."
Boozer came into the game leading the Bulls in scoring at 18 points a night.
"He came in in great shape," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. "The last two years, he's gotten lighter. You can count on him. Practices hard every day. He's been very durable."
Second City, second chances
Jazz point guard John Lucas III said Chicago feels like a "second home."
It's the place he got his second chance.
After spending time in Italy, Spain and China, Lucas the Bulls gave Lucas another shot at the NBA. He played for the team in two games in 2010 before being released. After another stint in China, he was signed by Chicago in 2011 and has been in the NBA since.
"He was huge for our team," Thibodeau said. "Always ready to play. Great in practice. Whenever he had the opportunity to play he was always ready to go. We never skipped a beat."