Three Months After Shoulder Surgery, Elliot Williams Is Ahead Of Schedule
By caseyholdahl Posted in: ElliotWilliams
Elliot Williams, at just 23 years old, is likely one of the most patient guys you're going to find in the NBA. He had to bide his time while missing the entirety of what would have been his rookie season after undergoing surgery to remedy patellar subluxation (basically a fancy word for chronic knee dislocations) in both knees.
Then, during the 2011-12 season, after showing glimpses of elite athleticism and a smooth shooting stroke, Williams missed the final 27 games of a 66-game schedule after dislocating his left shoulder during a practice in Boston on March 8. No injury ever comes at a good time, but for Williams, dislocating his shooting arm came at the worst possible time, seeing as how the 6-5 guard was expected to see an increase in minutes as Portland's emphasis went from making the playoffs to developing young talent on the roster.
So two seasons after being selected 22nd overall out of Memphis in the 2010 Draft, Williams has played just 149 minutes in 24 career games. Given that, and his relative youth, you might assume Williams might rush his rehab in order to really being his NBA career.
You'd be wrong.
"As a competitor, you want to get out there and play," said Williams prior to a workout at the team's practice facility. "But at the same time, you've got to be careful. I'm young and I've had an injury so I've got to let it heal."
And according to Williams, that healing is progressing nicely. He had a check up in Los Angeles a few weeks ago, during which the doctor said his recovery was ahead of schedule. He's now able to shoot and dribble, though with a few limitations, roughly three months after undergoing surgery to repair a dislocated shoulder capsule.
"I'm actually starting to shoot now. Basically healing and getting back in shape," said Williams. "I can pretty much do everything except contact. Not any long range shooting. (Head team trainer) Jay (Jensen) is pretty careful on what I can do. I'm just listening to Jay, working hard on things I now I can improve on with the right hand, becoming a better player."
Throughout the rehab process, Williams has strived to make the injury a "blessing in disguise" by improving his ability to dribble and finish with his right hand. He's even worked on shooting with his right, though he says you shouldn't expect to see him firing off jumpers with his off-hand any time soon.
Williams has stayed in great shape as a part of his rehab, so conditioning shouldn't be much of a problem when he is cleared for full activity. He's been working on strengthening the biceps and the muscles around his left shoulder so when he is cleared, he's not thinking about avoiding contact.
"Of course you're going to think about (dislocating the left shoulder again), but it was the same thing with my knees," said Williams. "Once you get going, you're fine. Once you realize you're alright, you stop thinking about it. One of the things I'm doing is becoming stronger to get ready for next season, getting healthy."
After he's cleared, Williams plans on meeting up with fellow NBA players in Los Angeles and Houston for informal runs prior to the start of training camp. But until then, if you happen to be waiting around for Elliot, there's only one place you need to go.
"You know me, I'm in the gym. I come back at night, just getting shots up with my left hand, shooting three's with my right. Doing all types of stuff."