HOUSTON -- Jerry Colangelo said Saturday he never said Deron Williams was unfit to play in the Olympics, only that the point guard wasn't in great shape when the U.S. men's basketball team began training last summer.
Colangelo was quoted in Saturday's Daily News of New York as saying that the Brooklyn Nets point guard "was not in the best shape" and "a little overweight" last summer. The headline for the story said Colangelo called Williams "unfit."
"I said a lot of things which basically said, look, our players are better off with us, we take care of our players, they're important assets, and on and on and on," Colangelo said when clarifying his remarks Saturday.
"And I said and by the way, he wasn't in the best of shape, and that's true, because if you remember he didn't even practice with us the first week because of contract and so forth. I certainly never said he was unfit to play USA Basketball."
Williams said previously his ankle swelled in London, and he never allowed his body to rest -- a decision he said he would have changed in hindsight. The Nets have attributed Williams' nagging injuries to their star playing nonstop the past two offseasons.
Williams has missed the last two games with inflammation in both ankles, and this week he received platelet-rich plasma injections in both of them. He's expected to return to practice on Monday.
This season, Williams has played through ankle, thigh, wrist and shoulder injuries, missing three games while playing in 50. His averages have dipped to 16.7 points on 41 percent shooting and 7.6 assists, and Sunday marks the first All-Star Game in three years he'll miss.
"If you look at the track record of all the players who participated with us, how they came into their seasons and had outstanding years," Colangelo told the Daily News. "So there are injures that have taken place that have nothing to do with participating with us. If anything, they're in better shape and they're better prepared going into training camp with their teams."
Colangelo said he would talk to Williams, a fellow University of Illinois product.
"My plan is to give Deron a call and tell him exactly what took place," Colangelo said. "It wasn't meant to embarrass him at all."
The Americans are off this summer, having qualified automatically for the 2014 World Cup of Basketball in Spain by winning Olympic gold.
Williams told The Associated Press in September that he was "definitely open" to being on that team and wouldn't rule out returning in 2016 for a third Olympics.
"Deron is part of our family. That's not going to change and I'm sorry he's got some injury issues," Colangelo said. "I mean, he is always welcome."
Information from ESPNNewYork.com's Jared Zwerling and The Associated Press was used in this report.