The masked man isn’t going away.
Utah Jazz forward Marvin Williams has been cleared to stop wearing his clear protective mask and originally had Monday’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies circled as his first without it. But plans have changed.
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"I feel comfortable in it now," Williams said.
Williams broke his nose Nov. 15 against the San Antonio Spurs, when Utah forward Derrick Favors came over a Boris Diaw screen and accidentally hit him.
He played parts of two games without a mask until he had surgery on his nose and a custom mask fitted on Nov. 21.
He’s worn the mask every game since, with the exception of one stretch last week in Miami.
"Coach threw me in there and I just ran up to sub in and didn’t even grab it," said Williams, who is averaging 9.3 points and 5 rebounds a game. "I felt so uncomfortable without it."
Williams says he feels no pain in his nose and is not bothered by the protective shield, which he now plans to wear for the remainder of the season.
"It’s almost a certain level of comfort I have with it now," he said. "That was my first time breaking my nose and I don’t want to have it happen again. … It will take some time to get used to not wearing. I’ll probably take that time in the summertime."
Taking a break
After playing seven of their last eight games on the road, the Jazz were given Tuesday and Wednesday off to celebrate Christmas.
"This break is earned and it’s deserved, but you can’t shut it down," cautioned forward Richard Jefferson. "You can’t just take two days off and not get some running in, get some work in. You’ve got to continue to be a professional. A lot of teams lose a game before the All-Star break because they’ve already checked out or lose right when they get back because they’re not engaged. It’s the same thing."
Gordon Hayward and his Jazz teammates towered over the patients at St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis on Sunday, when the team took photos, played board games and built gingerbread houses.
"Nobody thinks we’re as tall as we are," Hayward said. "It’s always cool when they look up to you. We look like giants probably compared to them."
The view from up there gave the Jazz something.
"It puts things in perspective for you for sure," Hayward said. "Those guys are going through a lot."
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