ATLANTA — Veteran guard Lou Williams will be on the floor Tuesday morning in Athens for the first day of training camp with the Atlanta Hawks. What he does, however, remains to be seen.
There is no concrete timetable for his return from the right ACL tear he suffered Jan. 18. The Hawks’ team physicians haven’t cleared him for full contact and Williams admitted Monday afternoon during Media Day that he has no idea when he’ll be allowed to return to full contact work.
“I would hope sooner than later,” Williams said. “I feel good at this point in the process. I guess you could say it’s just day-to-day with months worth of time [to go].”
Hawks general manager Danny Ferry declined to give specifics on the recovery process last week. Coach Mike Budenholzer did the same Monday afternoon, stressing that there will be no rushing the process for Williams, who played in just 39 games last season before getting hurt against Brooklyn and missing the remainder of the season.
“Right now we are in a rehab and evaluation mode or process so I can’t really give you a better indication of when he’ll be ready,” Budenholzer said. “But we feel like that process is going well. But when he’ll be able to play has not been determined and won’t be determined for the foreseeable future. His health and the health of any injured player will be our priority. And before he returns to play we will make sure he is 100 percent and feels great. He won’t go live five-on-five [Tuesday] but he will be on the court and participate and do some non-contact and things he’s been cleared to do. But there won’t be any five-on-five.”
The healing process varies depending on the player, of course. And with so many high-profile players around the league returning from various injuries, Williams made it clear that whatever hurdles he faces in the coming days, weeks and perhaps months, are physical and not psychological.
“I don’t think the issue I have is mental,” Williams said. “The trainers and the doctors will tell you that. The first day I could get back on the court they told me I had to slow down because I was trying to do too much. I’ve never had that issue. I guess I’m just naive to what’s going on. I feel really good about where I am. Every time they tell me to work out with a basketball I work out as if I wasn’t hurt, like I normally would if I wasn’t hurt. So I don’t think my issue is really going to be mental, it will be more what can I endure physically.”
With so many new faces on the roster, the Hawks could use Williams sooner rather than later. For the time being, though, he looks like his rehabilitation process could last well into the regular season.