HAWKSVILLE - No one came out and said it.
They didn’t have to for everyone start talking about it. But everyone wants to know, is Marvin Williams done for the season? Is the lower back injury that the cost him Monday’s game against New Orleans going to cost him the rest of his season?
We were told he will be out “indefinitely,” with more opinions from specialists being sought.
Yet Hawks coach Mike Woodson’s entire demeanor changed when speaking about Williams in the postgame session after the Hawks’ 89-79 defeat of the Hornets.
“He’s going to seek a few more opinions about his back and then I’m sure he’ll make a decision after that and then we’ll know,” Woodson said when asked about his starting small forward’s status.
Make a decision about what?
Hawks captain and All-Star Joe Johnson kicked the door wide open a few minutes later when he was asked about Williams.
“If he’s out for the rest of the season we can’t worry about that,” Johnson said. “We have to move forward with what we’ve got. Injuries are a part of the game, they happen. And unfortunately it’s a tough loss for us, but we have to be strong and be strong for Marvin as well. And everybody will have to step their play up.”
When pressed about it after his initial comments, Johnson admitted that he didn’t know if Williams was done or not.
“I’m just saying worst case scenario,” Johnson said. “You have to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.”
That doesn’t sound terribly hopeful.
So in the meantime, the tough question remains, is Marvin done for the season?
And if so, what can the Hawks do to replace him?
It’s obvious the Hawks can ill afford to lose Williams, or any of their starters, for the remainder of this season.
Not only is Williams their fourth leading scorer (14.0) one of their top rebounders (6.4), he’s also been their best defender of wing forwards all season, with Johnson concentrating on opposing point guards most of the time.
The Hawks also lack a backup small forward with the size and range of Williams (6-9, 240), who also shoots 35 percent from beyond the 3-point line (where’s Josh Childress when you need him? Oh yeah, dude’s in Greece).
Facing the likes of LeBron James, Paul Pierce, Carmelo Anthony and others this season, Williams has more than held his own. In this, his fourth season, he finally started to shed some of the grief (most all of it unwarranted) he’s taken over the years for not being Chris Paul or Deron Williams.
So how wacky is that Paul was in the house Monday (24 points, 10 assists and dazzling the entire night) and Deron Williams and the Utah Jazz will be here Wednesday?
The Billy Knight bashers out there couldn’t have asked for a better scenario (and I imagine they were going to be out in full force whether Marvin was injured or not).
If he is done for the remainder of the season, which at least appears to be a possibility at this point, things change dramatically not only for the Hawks but for the entire Eastern Conference.
Hanging on to that fourth spot becomes an even taller order for the Hawks. And teams eye-balling the Hawks in a potential first round matchup know that they’ll face a much different crew than the one they’ve seen all year with Williams playing a huge role.
However you twist it, things are going to take a major turn if we get the “worst-case” answer to our question.