News broke on Tuesday this week that Elliot Williams, the Blazer’s promising third year guard and presumed backup to Wesley Matthews this season, tore his achilles tendon in a voluntary workout at the team’s practice facility and could potentially be out for the entire season.
It seems like some sort of cruel joke, right?
The Blazers were supposed to be done with the injury plagued seasons that had become so common. Team management cut Greg Oden, used the amnesty on previously retired Brandon Roy, and basically tanked out the rest of the 2011-12 season in order to land a couple top draft picks and start fresh.
The injury to Elliot Williams, however, seems to indicate that the upcoming NBA season will be another one full of what if’s, not only for the Blazers, but for Williams as well.
There doesn’t seem to be any way that the team could have known they were getting someone quite so injury prone. I assume that they knew he was going to need knee surgery and would miss his rookie season when they drafted him, but the guy didn’t even miss a game during his lone season at Memphis as a freshman. Now he’s suffered multiple knee injures, an achilles tear and a serious shoulder injury, all in the span of less than three years.
What do we make of Elliot Williams? Is he done already as an NBA player?
I sure hope not. One thing that became clear last season is that, when healthy, he belongs on an NBA team. Only time could tell us if he is starter material or not, but he showed flashes of the athleticism and offensive skill which led the Blazers to spend a first round pick on him originally.
For the 2012-13 season, the immediate impact will be the loss of a backup shooting guard with some actual NBA experience. Will Barton, who will likely fill in the void left by Williams’ departure, has potential but will need to get stronger before he can be a consistent two-way player for the Blazers.
This is a sad day for the Blazers fans. All we want to do is put the past behind us and rebuild around a strong core of LaMarcus Aldridge, Damian Lillard and Nicolas Batum. Now, with the specter of injury hanging over this team once again, we can only hold our breath and wonder what’s next.