D-Will: Ankles used to feel, ahem, bad

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Prior to taking a week off to rest and get healthy for the first time this season, Brooklyn Nets point guard Deron Williams said his ankles "felt like s---."

"Listen man, from walking here (on the bench) to the locker room felt like s---," Williams said following Saturday's practice. "What do you not understand? Like, I could not walk. I could not walk up my stairs without (my ankles) killing me. It would take me 10 minutes to get up my stairs sometimes -- especially in the morning."

Williams said "the last straw" for him was the team's 111-86 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Feb. 10 in which he was completely outplayed by Tony Parker.

"I felt like I was just hurting the team even being out there playing the way I was, because I couldn't move," Williams said. "I couldn't stay in front of anybody. I couldn't beat anybody off the dribble. I couldn't jump. If I did find some energy ... to do one move, by the time I did the one move it hurt so bad that I couldn't even jump to shoot a layup. It was just painful."

It was after that loss that Williams, who was averaging just 16.7 points on 41.3 percent shooting -- including 34.7 percent from 3-point range -- over his first 50 games, took the two games off before the All-Star break due to inflammation in both of his ankles.

During the break, he received his third set of cortisone shots in both ankles, along with platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatment. He also did a juice cleanse.

He has been a different player -- an elite player -- ever since. In 12 games since the break, Williams is averaging 23.3 points on 46.7 percent shooting, including 47.1 percent from 3-point range.

"I feel totally different right now," he said. "I feel like I have a whole new energy."

Williams said it was tough trying to lead the team, given the way he was playing.

"I was still trying to be positive to everybody," he said. "It was just more of my body language on the court because I couldn't do what I wanted to do. ... I've heard people say I looked disinterested. I'm not disinterested. I've never tanked. I've never wanted to play bad. Never wanted to miss shots. I just couldn't make shots, and I had to hear about it everyday from you guys."

Williams said that it was difficult to stay positive while he was struggling.

"Keith [Bogans] was telling me all the time, 'Man, you're being too hard on yourself, you're beating yourself up,'" Williams said. "Because I felt like I was letting people down, I was letting my team down, letting the fans down if I'm playing bad, so that was the biggest thing for me."

Williams said he didn't feel any added pressure to live up to the five-year, $98 million contract he signed in the offseason.

"I had a max contract in Utah. That didn't affect me. I [just] couldn't do what I wanted to do," he said.