USA TODAY Sports
Deron Williams spoke at length and with insight Saturday on what life was like for him before he took time off at the All-Star Game for both rest and plasma replacement therapy, about how the ankle pain he felt caused his game, but also his psyche and his leadership to suffer ... and how criticism that he was "disinterested" stung.
Now. he says, "I feel like I have a whole new energy," and of course the numbers since then show it.
Here's what he told beat writers, as transcribed by Stefan Bondy and posted on Sulia...
"In the beginning of the season when I was playing bad it’s hard to – I don’t want to say sorry for myself, but not be down on myself. Keith (Bogans) was telling me all the time you’re being too hard on yourself, you’re beating yourself up, because I feel like I’m letting people down, letting the team down, letting fans down, because I’m feeling bad. So that was the biggest thing for me. It wasn’t not trying to be a leader, it was just staying positive about myself, which I think my teammates know that I’m not healthy and then they see me kind of being down, not that I’m down on them, but I’m down on myself. But then it can have that reaction where it trickles down.
"I still was trying to be positive to everybody. I think it was just my body language on the court because I just couldn’t do what I wanted to do. So it just looks like -- I heard people say you know, ‘I look disinterested.’ I’m not disinterested. I’ve never wanted to play bad. I’ve never wanted to miss shots. I just couldn’t make shots. And I had to hear about it everyday from you guys.
"From walking from here to that locker room felt like shit. It felt like shit. What do you not understand? I could not walk. I could not walk up my stairs without it killing me. It would take me 10 minutes to get up my stairs, especially in the morning. I feel totally different right now. I feel like I have a whole new energy. Right before the shots. The San Antonio game (before the All-Star break) was kind of like the last straw. I felt like I was hurting the team even being out there playing the way I was."
His comments come a day after P.J. Carlesimo talked about Williams emotions on ESPN Radio, citing the differences between Williams and Johnson.
"Some guys hide their emotion. Joe [Johnson] and him are almost the opposite in terms of emotion. Unless Joe is going really bad, you can't tell anything by his face or his body language. Deron is the complete opposite. Deron makes a shot and he's walking one way. He misses a shot and he's walking another. He's very, very easy to read.''
In 12 games since the break, D-Will has averaged 23.3 points and 7.9 assists per game and is shooting 47.1 percent from three-point range.
- Deron opens up about his pain - Rod Boone - Newsday
- Nets' Deron describes misery of ankle injuries early in season - Fred Kerber - New York Post
- Deron Williams says ankles used to feel, ahem, bad - Mike Mazzeo - ESPN New York