Injured guard Williams bored away from court

Injured Hawks guard Lou Williams is still trying to contribute — and eat as much Zaxby's as possible.

ATLANTA – Boredom and junk food.

That is what have filled Hawks guard Lou Williams' days since he tore his ACL two weeks ago.

“Very boring, very boring,” Williams said. “Just rehabbing, icing, rehab, icing, junk food, icing, rehab, icing.”

He said he had eaten at Zaxby’s four times this week and expected to make it a fifth after speaking with reporters around lunch time.

“You know, that’s one of the things I’m kind of enjoying right now before the surgery,” he said. “I’ve been able to eat whatever it is I want. Afterwards, I need to lock back in and get my diet together.”

Williams, a free agent signed by the Hawks to a multi-year deal in the offseason, was speaking Friday for the first time since he injured himself in a game at Brooklyn. Williams, 26, was the team’s third-leading scorer at 14.1 points per game and also had earned the role as one of the team’s go-to shooters in late-game situations.

He also had begun to take on a leadership role with the team, as he has an assertive personality. He said he would try to maintain that as much as possible. He said he texts his teammates after games with messages like, “That was a great game," or, "What were y’all doing in the fourth quarter?”

“I hope I can still be around,” he said. “Obviously, with the surgery and rehab, I want to be there as much as I possibly can. Like I said, we’re still in the early stages of just trying to get everything organized. I still want to be very supportive of the guys and still have that camaraderie.”

In his eighth season — he skipped college, going directly from South Gwinnett High School to the NBA — Williams said this is his first serious sports-related injury. As much as he said the injury frustrated him, he said his spirits remain high.

He showed that in using his sense of humor to put the injury in context and while talking about how it might affect him in the future.

“I’ve always played slow anyway,” he said. “I’ve never been a Jeff Teague or Devin Harris type of guy where I just run down the court and try to run into people or try to break defenses down off the dribble. I’ve always taken my time with the basketball and just tried to score as much as I can. Hopefully, I can play the same if not better.”

Yet he realizes he faces a long road back. Williams has yet to have surgery but he said he expects that to happen in the next week or so and that his rehab will last six to nine months.

He said he requested that his ACL surgery be performed by the same surgeon who repaired Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson’s ACL and allowed Peterson to come back the following season and be able to challenge for the NFL’s single-season rushing yardage record.

That doctor is James Andrews and Williams said the procedure would be performed at Andrews’ office in Gulf Breeze, Fla., near Pensacola.

“Some guys don’t come back as strong and then you have guys like Adrian Peterson who damn near break world records, so we’ll see what happens,” Williams said.

Sometimes when athletes return from serious injuries, they become tentative in going full-tilt in the area in which they were hurt. Williams is not concerned with that happening.

“I’m a very confident person, very confident in my abilities,” he said. “Again, I’m very early in this stage so maybe I’m being naïve a little bit but I feel once the surgery is done, the rehab’s done, I’m cleared to play, I’ll still be able to compete.”

And he’s anxious to get back with the Hawks and help build upon what they’ve started. They enter Saturday’s game at Philips Arena with Chicago fifth in the Eastern Conference at 26-19 but just two games behind the third-place Bulls.

Of course, with so many players having expiring contracts, the roster could be completely different by the time he can play again. Nonetheless, Williams is bullish, so to speak, on the Hawks.

“I want to be part of this mode here,” he said. “I feel like we’re turning the corner here where guys are competing at a high level and once I come back I hope that only gets better.”

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