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Blazers G Elliot Williams Tears Achilles Tendon, Will Require Surgery


Joe Freeman of The Oregonian reports on Twitter that third-year Portland Trail Blazers guard Elliot Williams tore his left Achilles tendon on Tuesday.

Elliot Williams' injury will require surgery, although a date for that and a timeline on his return is unknown at this point.

The Blazers have confirmed the news in a press release.

It's quite possible, although obviously unconfirmed at this point, that this winds up as a season-ending injury. In March 2012, Dr. Mark Schwartz told Reuben Frank of that a ruptured Achilles carries an average rehabilitation timeline of 11 months.

Back in February, Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus compiled a list of NBA players who had suffered the injury after Los Angeles Clippers guard Chauncey Billups went down with a season-ending Achilles injury.

One of the interesting takeaways of my quick research on the modern history of ruptured Achilles is that I did not find any players who suffered the injury at such an advanced age. Generally, they have tended to strike players between 28 and 31. (Naturally, this is partially because most players in the league fall into this age band, but players older than 33 are still underrepresented.) Of the 11 players I found with ruptured Achilles tendons in the last two decades, four (including Isiah Thomas, who retired at 32 following a ruptured Achilles) never played in the NBA again. Just four returned to play at the same level by my estimation, though Dominique Wilkins' successful comeback is notable. Wilkins made two All-Star teams after a ruptured Achilles suffered at 32 and played until age 39.

It's worth noting the obvious: Williams is significantly younger than the players studied in that survey.

Williams missed his entire rookie season after undergoing surgery on both of his knees and missed the end of his promising sophomore season after undergoing left shoulder surgery after taking a foul from former teammate Chris Johnson during a March practice. Those injuries kept him out of Las Vegas Summer League in 2010 and 2012 as well.

Given the severity of the injury and the timing, the Blazers will face a decision similar to the one that confronted them when former reserve center Jeff Pendergraph was injured during the 2010 preseason.

Back in February, Williams opened up about his return from the two knee surgeries.

A majority of the Blazers are in town for "voluntary offseason workouts" organized by All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge, according to recent statements in interviews from Blazers GM Neil Olshey and coach Terry Stotts.

Williams, 23, holds career averages of 3.7 points and .8 rebounds in 6.2 minutes per game. He penciled in behind starting two guard Wesley Matthews on the team's depth chart. Blazers rookie guard Will Barton and sophomore guard Nolan Smith are in line for Williams' minutes. Barton received stitches for a blow to his face earlier this week.

Williams, a 2010 first-round pick out of Memphis (via Duke), is still on his rookie scale contract, which will pay him $1.4 million in 2012-13, according The Blazers hold a $2.3 million team option for 2013-14.

Back in December 2009, former Blazers coach Nate McMIllan ruptured his Achilles tendon while scrimmaging with the team.

-- Ben Golliver | | Twitter