Charlotte Hornets

Charlotte Hornets’ Marvin Williams ‘saw stars’ that night he was concussed

Charlotte Hornets forward Marvin Williams now knows “seeing stars” is so much more than an expression.

Williams was chasing after a loose ball the night of Jan. 24 in the first half against the New York Knicks. He bent forward and ended up taking a direct blow to the nose from an inadvertent elbow from Knicks center Jason Smith.

Williams tried to get right back up. The wrong choice.

“The blow was the worst of it,” Williams said following Hornets practice Friday at the Pepsi Center. “Usually I’m the type of guy who, if I get knocked down, I’m going to get right back up. The problem is when I tried to get up, I was literally seeing stars – literally! That’s when I had to roll back over. When they took me back to the locker room I had to stop because I was so out of it.”

To say Williams looked woozy that night is an understatement. He was diagnosed with a concussion and a broken nose.

He was back in practice Friday (though he wasn’t yet cleared for contact drills). Assuming he has no setback Saturday, Williams plans to play against the Denver Nuggets.

As quick a recovery as this appears, Williams isn’t rushing back. He knows concussions.

“This is my second or third concussion that I’ve had,” Williams said. “I had one a few years ago my first season in Utah (2012-13). And I guess I had one when I was younger. I didn’t remember that but my parents told me about it.”

This is the second concussion this season for the Hornets. Shooting guard Gary Neal suffered one Nov. 15 in a road loss to the Golden State Warriors.

The NBA has a formal protocol of tests before a concussed player is cleared to return. Williams had to be symptom-free for a full day, then could start exercising. Williams then had to go through a series of exertion tests symptom-free to be cleared to play.

“I’m doing OK. Yesterday was the first day I was symptom-free,” Williams said. “This morning I woke up feeling great. I took the concussion test and passed that. I did some things physically. A couple of little things are still bothering me, but for the most part I feel fine.”

Fine enough to play in Denver or, if not that, Washington on Monday

“If I’m cleared, definitely. Without a doubt,” Williams said. “This is my second or third concussion, so I’m not going to do anything (foolhardy). Coach (Steve) Clifford has told me to take my time coming back and Strick (head athletic trainer Steve Stricker) has been awesome with me. “

Williams still has to undergo a procedure to reset a cracked bone along his left nasal cavity. He’s putting that off until the All-Star break in two weeks. After that he will likely play some games in a protective mask.

Soon, he hopes, the night of Jan. 24 will just be a painful memory.

“I laid down in the second half and that made me feel a little better. When I got home I was a little better,” Williams recalled.

“But it was a scary moment definitely.”

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