Originally written February 16, 2013 on The Other Paper:
There is a lot of speculation about Deron Williams' weight gain and subsequent inferior play — since he reportedly aggravated an ankle injury during the the 2012 Olympics — but USA Basketball president Jerry Colangelo claims the Brooklyn Nets point guard was already out of shape before he played in the London Games. The Nets maintain that their $100 million star's sub-par season is from being worn down from continuous play over the past two years — and led to PRP (platelet-rich plasma) injections in both ankles this week — but Colangelo said Williams is just out of shape. "Deron Williams, for the Olympics was not in the best of shape," Colangelo told The New York Daily News on Friday. "He was a little overweight, and I told him that at the time." Through 50 games this season, Williams has struggled with injuries to his shoulder, wrist, thigh and ankles.  He will miss his first All-Star Game in three years after failing to put up the numbers he has in recent years. While a lot of people blamed the additional weight for Williams apparent lack of quickness this season, Nets general manager Billy King said the point guard was only one pound heavier than what he weighed when he was acquired in a trade with Utah in 2011.  King blames Williams' physical breakdowns on the non-stop schedule over the course of 2012 and not his player's conditioning. Colangelo disagreed by citing other Olympic competitors — like LeBron James and Kevin Durant — who are enjoying injury-free, MVP-caliber seasons. "If you look at the track record of all the players who participated with us, how they came into their next seasons and had outstanding years,” Colangelo said. “So there are injuries 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." It's still not clear when Williams aggravated his ankle injury at the Olympics, after averaging nine points and 4.6 assists while shooting 39%. "He's a heck of a player, great guy, made a real contribution to USA Basketball," said Colangelo about Williams. "And if he decides that he can't participate because of his own health conditions, I've got a list a mile long of people who want to play. "We take care of our players," he added.  "Nobody is going to get hurt because they play for USA basketball. Just the opposite."
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