Day off was good for Sixers, recovering Williams

Lou Williams is optimistic that he'll be ready for the playoffs.
Lou Williams is optimistic that he'll be ready for the playoffs.
Posted: April 11, 2011

Optimism was overflowing as the 76ers held practice yesterday at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Injured guard Lou Williams was happy with a weekend workout on the strained hamstring that will keep him out for the final two regular-season games this week, and coach Doug Collins was happy that his players got away from each other on Saturday's off day, then reported to work yesterday with a fresh work ethic.

Williams was very hopeful that he will be able to suit up for the playoffs when they get under way either Saturday or Sunday against either the Boston Celtics or Miami Heat.

"Just a lot more stretching, got a lot of cardio in on the bike," Williams said of what he did yesterday. "That was really it. Today was a light day. [Saturday] was pretty rough. I had to swim for 15 or 20 minutes, I think. Stretch all of these cords, all this fancy stuff, some more cardio and stretching and exercise. It was just a long day."

It could be a long playoff series for Collins' club should it not have the services of Williams, though the diminutive guard thinks he should be ready.

"It feels good actually. I feel really confident that I'll be able to play come playoff time," Williams said. "I was feeling good. It's a lot of good stuff that I do to get back on the court and then, hopefully, once I'm back on the court, I can continue to do the things I was doing before that.

"I think I've made a lot of progress. I'm happy where I am. With all the rehab and stuff, I'm able to run and shoot a little bit, get some movement, which has given me a little confidence. I feel good about it."

The workouts, for now, are very limited, but Williams hopes to increase his work in preparation for the weekend.

"Just shot, one-dribble pull ups, two-dribble pull ups," said Williams of his workout. "That's as far as I've pushed it so far. That's my goal [to be back for playoffs]. That 3- or 4-day gap in between when the season ends and the playoffs start I would hope to get a couple days of full contact."

As much as the team needs Williams, Collins was convinced that rest and a little getaway was key to regrouping his team that had lost three in a row before Friday night's win against the Toronto Raptors.

"It was really good," Collins said of the off day. "[Saturday] was a sunny day, gave everybody a chance to get away. We played so many games, the five [games] in 7 [days], the six in 9. We haven't had much practice time, we've been together, it's been such a competitive time for us the last 15 games. I think [Saturday] was good for us. We're fresh, we had a good practice. What we're incorporating in now is a good contact day today. What we have to start thinking about is we could be in a playoff game [this Saturday]. So now we have to start working on the things that we'll be working on in the playoffs, doing some things that maybe we haven't done in a while. Our guys were really good today, I was really pleased. I think seeing the sunshine helps."

And having Williams at his disposal will, too.

"He had a good day yesterday," Collins said. "[Trainer] Kevin Johnson texted me yesterday around 1 and said Lou got his swim in and felt really good about that. He did some conditioning, lightly, felt good about that. I think Lou was excited [Saturday], that was a very positive for us."

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