EUGENE, Ore. — In his first media interview since missing six games with a knee injury and playing the last three, Brandon Williams said Saturday that he didn’t want to talk about whether or not he has a long-term issue to deal with.
Williams had surgery to repair the congenital issue as a junior in high school, missing the next 10 months, and UA coach Sean Miller said it has flared up on a few occasions since he reported to the Wildcats last summer.
But what is clear now is that Williams was given exactly 20 minutes to play in each of the Wildcats’ games in Oregon this weekend and says he feels good.
“I'm working my way back slowly,” Williams said. “I’m getting there. I’m just working with J Rock (trainer Justin Kokoskie) and coach Rounds (strength/conditioning coach Chris Round), getting back healthy.”
While Miller has spoken repeatedly about how Williams’ return has benefited the Wildcats, Williams’ individual game is still recovering, too. He fouled out Thursday at OSU with two turnovers to his two assists and picked up three fouls Saturday, with 3-for-6 shooting but no assists and two turnovers.
“He’s doing fine,” Miller said. “ As you can see he's fouling right now, but that's what happens when you don't practice and play for as long period of time as he didn't, plus he's a freshman. But he'll adjust. The good thing is he's getting some good game experience and hopefully get when we get to next Saturday, he can play a longer stretch and eliminate one or two of those fouls.”
After center Chase Jeter was inserted into Saturday’s game and immediately started running downcourt with a slight limp, ESPN analyst Bill Walton said it was “ill-advised” to put him in the game.
Jeter left for good after playing just six minutes in the first half, though Miller said again that he has a “bruised knee.”
Arizona’s loss put the Wildcats back in 10th place, though there are still countless different Pac-12 Tournament scenarios that can still develop, with four teams tied at 8-8.
There’s two more games Sunday that will also shape the race heading into the final weekend of the regular season: Washington at Stanford (2 p.m., ESPN2) and ASU at OSU (6 p.m., ESPNU).
The Register-Guard's Austin Meek says it's hard to imagine the Wildcats and Ducks are playing to stay out of the the 8-9 game on Wednesday afternoon in the Pac-12 Tournament.
Miller said the Ducks are one of "five or six teams" that could make a run and win the Pac-12 Tournament.
Oregon coach Dana Altman said the Ducks had their best cohesiveness of the season Saturday.