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Arizona missing Brandon Williams, who could be out for season

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Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Freshman guard Brandon Williams will not play for the Arizona Wildcats on Thursday against the California Golden Bears, coach Sean Miller confirmed Wednesday.

Beyond that, it’s anyone’s guess.

“I wish I can answer that,” Miller said when asked when (or if) he expects Williams to return to action. “I would so no, for sure, for the Cal game. I know if I don’t say no for Stanford (that means) he’s going to play for Stanford. I’m not saying that. I don’t really know. All I know is the next game, which is tomorrow, he’s not going to play.”

Williams has missed Arizona’s last five games while dealing with pain in his surgically repaired right knee, which caused him to miss his junior year of high school basketball. The pain is related to a congenital condition rather than an injury, Miller has said, and his timetable for a return is based entirely on how he handles that pain.

“Whenever (team trainer) Justin Kokoskie and Brandon’s family are aligned and feel like okay, now’s the time when he can play, then we’ll play,” Miller said. “There’s a chance he might not play at all. We’re hoping that at some point he’s going to he’s going to return to our team.

“We have to be patient. Brandon has to be patient.”

The latter may be easier said than done. Last week Williams tweeted ‘I JUST WANT TO HOOP,’ an indication he’s anxious to get back on the court.

Miller said there’s been no talk of permanently shutting Williams down.

“If he progresses and he’s cleared and he’s strong and he’s pain free, of course he wants to play, so it makes no sense not to play him,” he said.

Arizona is 0-5 without Williams, who was averaging 12.0 points, 2.8 rebounds and 3.6 assists before getting hurt. He was also shooting 79.3 percent from the foul line, an area where the Wildcats have suffered in recent games.

“The thing about Brandon is his playmaking his ability to not just score himself, but get fouled on drives and get others shots,” Miller said. “He’s very clever and he was getting better, so the irony of his situation is the best game that he played would have been the final game before he got injured.

Williams had 19 points in 32 minutes in the Jan. 26 loss at UCLA, and in Pac-12 play he averaged a team-best 13.8 per game.

“We miss him, we really do,” Miller said.