Brandon Williams ramped up his activity in pregame warmups Sunday before the Arizona Wildcats took on Colorado, but it still remains to be seen if the freshman guard will return this season.
Williams has missed the last five games with right knee pain, and head coach Sean Miller continues to be vague when providing a timetable for return.
“I’m optimistic that at some time Brandon Williams will rejoin us,” Miller said Monday on his radio show (h/t Javier Morales of AllSportsTucson).
The Wildcats are 0-5 without Williams, who was averaging 12 points and 3.7 assists per game before experiencing pain in his right knee at UCLA on Jan. 26. It is the same knee Williams had repaired in high school to fix a congenital condition and Miller said in previous weeks that the team will not bring him back until the pain subsides.
Williams returning would certainly boost Arizona’s slim chances of making an improbable run through the Pac-12 Tournament, which is the only way it will make the NCAA Tournament at this point. But is it really worth bringing him back and putting his knee in harm’s way in a season that is all but over?
It is easy to argue that Arizona would be better off shutting Williams down and start preparing him for 2019-20, when the Wildcats will have a much more talented roster, barring any fallout from the ongoing federal and NCAA investigations.
Then again, Williams recently tweeted “I JUST WANT TO HOOP!” so if he is healthy enough to play, you have to imagine he will give it a go. But when that may be is anyone’s guess right now.
Barcello is “gonna be fine”
Williams’ backup, Alex Barcello, banged up his right knee against Colorado on Sunday, but Miller said on his radio show that he is “gonna be fine.”
“Which is good news,” he said (h/t Bruce Pascoe of the Arizona Daily Star) “We can’t afford anyone else going out at this point.”
Barcello was limited to just seven minutes against the Buffaloes, after averaging 15.3 minutes in the previous four games.
The timing of Barcello’s injury was unfortunate since he was coming off a 12-point outing against Utah. But fortunately for the Wildcats, it doesn’t appear he will be missing any time.