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Sunday, June 22
 
Paxson: 'It's going to be a different decision'

ESPN.com news services

The uncertain future of point guard Jay Williams will alter the Chicago Bulls' strategy for Thursday's NBA draft.

More surgery for Williams
Bulls guard Jay Williams injured his knee and pelvis in addition to breaking his leg in a motorcycle accident, a source close to the player said Sunday.

The source, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity, would not elaborate.

The Chicago Tribune reported Sunday that Williams sustained extensive nerve damage to his left leg and has a torn anterior cruciate ligament. The Tribune also reported that Williams did not have a license to drive a motorcycle in Illinois and had been ticketed three times in the past 2-1/2 years for motor vehicle violations.

The Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times said Williams underwent surgery Thursday to repair pelvic injuries and he would require multiple operations on his left knee. Both newspapers cited anonymous sources.

Advocate Illinois Masonic Hospital in Chicago would not discuss Williams' condition Sunday.

Earlier, the AP reported, according to its source, that the injuries were severe enough to possibly jeopardize Williams' career.
-- Associated Press

The Bulls have the No. 7 pick and were considering the possibility of packaging that selection with either Williams or the team's only other experienced point guard, Jamal Crawford, in order to land a veteran small forward, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

But the severe injuries Williams, 21, suffered Thursday when he crashed his motorcycle will likely sideline him for this season, and could even end his career. Williams severely damaged his left knee and sustained nerve damage in his leg.

"We're in a different position than we were a couple of days ago, in a lot of respects," Bulls general manager John Paxson told the Sun-Times. "We have to move on in terms of making a decision this week, but it's going to be a different decision based on the roster now and based on thinking ahead. It changes a little bit."

Paxson and his staff met Saturday for three hours to discuss the draft. According to The Chicago Tribune, Paxson also has scheduled a Monday morning briefing to talk about the draft.

How the Bulls will address their depth at point guard is certainly a key issue.

Williams, the second overall pick out of Duke a year ago, started 54 games and averaged 9.5 points and 4.7 assists. Crawford, an eighth overall pick by Cleveland in 2000 whose draft rights were traded to Chicago, started 31 games and averaged 10.7 points and 4.2 assists.

It's doubtful the Bulls would draft a point guard with the seventh pick, although it's possible Texas' T.J. Ford could be available at that spot. ESPN.com's latest mock draft has Ford going in the eighth spot to Milwaukee, with the Bulls selecting France shooting guard Mickael Pietrus at No. 7.

Bulls representatives B.J. Armstrong and Pete Myers were in France on Saturday to work out Pietrus and teammate Boris Diaw, a 6-8 swingman.

On Sunday, the club worked out Georgia swingman Jarvis Hayes and 6-9 Alabama high schooler James Lang.

While the Bulls' front office has been rocked by Williams' injury, the sobering reality is that the draft is only days away.

"It's coming up Thursday, so you have to be prepared," Bulls coach Bill Cartwright told the Sun-Times. "We're aware of what's going on and the tough time Jay is going through, so we're not going to forget about him.

"[Changing strategy is] what we're talking about. Pax is still listening to other teams, and we're still talking."

Discussions now might be centered on Marcus Fizer, the Bulls' reserve power forward who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee last season. Fizer should be able to work out starting in August, but his uncertain status drops his trade value.




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