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News » Williams ready to play

Williams ready to play

Williams ready to play Deron Williams rejoined his teammates at practice Monday after missing the Jazz's last two games because of his daughter's health-related issues.

Williams declined to update her condition, referring reporters to a previously issued statement released through the team that said tests are continuing.

Williams did say he will play Wednesday against Toronto at EnergySolutions Arena. He also plans to play Thursday at San Antonio.

"It feels good to see them," Williams said, referring to his teammates. "It's tough when you're home, sitting [and] watching when you should be there. It's just a different feeling."

The Jazz fared reasonably well in two games without Williams.

With rookie point guard Eric Maynor averaging 381/2 minutes against Philadelphia and Cleveland, the Jazz cruised to a 112-90 win over the 76ers. They lost in the final moments to the Cavaliers, 107-103.

"I thought we played great -- like a different team out there, offensively and defensively," Williams said. "I thought we passed the ball better than we have all season, especially in that [Philadelphia] game."

Asked if the Jazz are a better team now than they were 10 days ago, when they suffered a 104-99 loss at home to Sacramento, Williams smiled.

"I would hope so -- hopefully we got rid of that team," he said. "... Guys stepped up. Guys passed the ball great. I've said it all season: When we pass the ball, we're a much better team. When we help each other defensively, we're a much better team."

Carlos Boozer knows what Williams has been experiencing. His young son, Carmani, has been battling sickle cell anemia, which forced a bone marrow transplant.

"First of all, our prayers and thoughts and all of our hearts are out there with [Williams] and his family," Boozer said. "We tell him, 'If you need anything, we'll be there.'

"I told him, 'Get the best advice you can and hang in there.' Sometimes, as a parent, you can't control what happens and you feel helpless. I told him, 'There's enough people out there who can help. You just have to find them.' "

Boozer knows that rejoining his teammates -- even for a few hours at practice --can help Williams deal with the strain of caring for a sick child.

"When you're going through something at home," he said, "sometimes the best thing to do is get out of the house and go back to the game you love and play Basketball and get away from the drama. I went through that for two years and Basketball was my refuge."

Williams' absence helped the Jazz in one respect: They re-discovered Maynor, their first-round pick out of Virginia Commonwealth.

"He played fantastic," Boozer said. "Against Cleveland, he made bucket after bucket from the very beginning."

Maynor finished with 24 points in the narrow loss, only four less than Williams' season-high as a rookie.

Williams knew it was only a matter of time for Maynor who, as the Jazz's No. 3 point guard, rarely played in the first eight games.

But with Williams gone and Ronnie Price out with a toe injury, Maynor took advantage of the situation.

"I kind of expected that from him," Williams said. "... I've said since I met him that he doesn't play like a rookie -- that he doesn't carry himself like a rookie.

"He has a confidence about himself and, hopefully, now my minutes will get cut down a little because coach trusts him a little bit more."

According to assistant Phil Johnson, Maynor's sudden emergence helps strengthen a young bench that had been exposed by an early-season outbreak of injuries.

Williams, for example, averages 40 minutes a game.

"I don't know that you can put a limit on it," Johnson said, "but as the season wears on you have to cut back on some of [Williams'] time."

That job now falls to Price and Maynor.

"It looks like we've got some people who can step out there," Johnson said. Maynor breaks out

Eric Maynor's statistics in the Jazz's first six games compared to the last two, when he filled in for Deron Williams:

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Author: Fox Sports
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Added: November 18, 2009


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