Lou Williams spoke with the media Friday, the first time the Hawks guard has spoken publically since he was lost for the season with a torn ACL in his right knee. Here is what Williams said about the disappointment of the injury, the timetable for his recovery and his comfort in fast food.
Q. Did you know right away (when the injury occurred) that it would be that bad?
A. No, not really, because I never had knee problems before that. That was my first sports related major injury. I knew something was wrong. I didn’t know the extent of it. We were in a hold. The doctors knew better than I did and they were saying ACL right away and I was hoping for a sprain. Once we got the x-ray and the MRI back, that was that.
Q. How, as a professional athlete, do you process such a major injury? How long does it take to come to grips with it?
A. It happened right away for me. Once you realize you going to be sitting down for a while, you are not going to wake up with a new leg, the circumstances are not going to change. I came to grips with it right away. I was eager to get surgery and do whatever it takes to get back on track.
Q. It still must be frustrating, I would imagine?
A. Obviously it’s frustrating because I want to be out there with the guys. Naturally, I’m a competitor at heart. I enjoy playing the game. It’s one of my great passions. At the same time there are other passions in my life that still requires my attention. I’m still a father, still a friend, still have to run other entities outside of basketball. My spirits are still high and I’m excited to get back on the court whenever I can.
Q. Have you, or will you, speak to other players who have suffered the same injury?
A. I already know that the rehab is not something that is going to be a walk in the park. It’s going to be a difficult process. There is not a lot that these guys can tell me that I’m not expecting. I’m already expecting the worst and anything short of that is a blessing. That is how I process my mind for stuff like that.
Q. Is there a timetable for surgery?
A. I know it will be in the next week or so. There is not an exact date.
Q. How about the recovery time? When will you be back?
A. I just get the generic six to nine months. Anywhere in that range depends on how your body reacts to the rehab. Some guys are different than others. Some guys don’t come back as strong. Then you have guys like Adrian Peterson who darn near break world records.
Q. Is there any chance this injury could lead to an evolution of your game?
A. I always play slow any way. I’ve never been a Jeff Teague or Devin Harris type of guy who is going to run down the court and run into people or try to break defenses down off the dribble. I’ve always taken my time with the basketball and tried to score as much as I can. We’ll see what happens. Hopefully I can play the same, if not better. If I put a different strike in my game that requires less movement, that will be helpful too.
Q. Is there part of you that is worried about having that same confidence?
A. No, see that is the funny thing. I’m a very confident person. I’ve very confident in my abilities. Again, I’m very early in this stage so maybe I’m being naïve a little bit but I feel like that once the surgery is done, the rehab is done, I’m cleared to play I feel like I will still be able to compete.
Q. Will you remain here (for the surgery)?
A. No, I’m headed out of town. They are sending me to Florida, wherever Adrian Peterson’s doctor is. That is who I requested to do my surgery.
Q. Doctor James Andrews?
Q. How much of a presence will you have around here in keeping in touch with the guys?
A. I will be around. Obviously with the surgery and rehab I want to be around as much as I possibly can. We are still in the early stages in trying to get everything organized but I still want to be very supportive of the guys, be around and still have the camaraderie.
Q. Can you still continue to have a leadership role here because it’s not just all about what you do on the court?
A. Just being around as much as I possibly can. All the games I’m still here in the back and rehabbing. I’m very active with texting a lot of the guys. After games I text them ‘Hey that was a great game.’ Or ‘What were you all doing in the fourth quarter?’ It’s a very open dialog. I want to be part of the mold here. I feel like we are turning a corner here where guys are competing at a high level and once I get back I hope it only gets better.
Q. What have your days been like?
A. Very boring. Just rehab, icing, rehab, icing, junk food, rehab, icing, rehab. The diet changed. That is one of the things I’m kind of enjoying right now. Before the surgery I’ve been able to eat whatever I want to. Afterward I have to lock back in and get my diet together.
Q. What kind of junk food?
A. Zaxby’s four times this week. I’m headed to Gwinnett after this so I will probably hit Zaxby’s again. I’ve been eating a lot of Zaxby’s and Chick-fil-A.
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