CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – While the crutches are long gone and his walking cane is no longer needed, Roy Williams is still enduring the difficulties of rehab following his knee replacement surgery in May.
“Not perfect yet, but I’m walking almost without a limp,” Williams told reporters during a Maui Invitational teleconference on Tuesday “…There’s still a little discomfort, but I’m seven weeks in. Everybody tells me I’m doing great. It’s just that it’s not feeling great for me. I’d like for it to be a lot better, a lot quicker, but that’s part of the rehab process.”
Dr. Walt Beaver performed the procedure on Williams’s right knee in Charlotte on May 27. The 65-year-old UNC head coach previously had two knee surgeries last summer that failed to alleviate his pain, forcing him to deal with discomfort and pain throughout his team’s run to the national championship game in April. He’s hopeful the knee replacement will do the trick.
“The rehab, it’s a daily proposition,” Williams said. “You’ve got to do something every day. Doug Halverson, my trainer, and Walt Beaver, my surgeon, have worked very well together and told me what I need to be doing.”
The daily rehab work presents a challenge given the July evaluation periods. Williams has searched out physical therapy clinics “in just about every town” he’s visited this summer to perform his required exercises. There was Charleston, S.C., and then Augusta, Ga., and now possibly Las Vegas, where Williams is likely headed on Wednesday for the final week of the evaluation period.
Williams inquired with several surgeons immediately following the season about potential replacements for both knees, but the left knee surgery has been put on hold.
“At one point I was thinking about possibly doing it later this summer, and I’m not going to do that now,” Williams said. “I’m going to put it off.”
Summer Practices Wrap Up
Since 2012, the NCAA has allowed student-athletes enrolled in summer to participate in basketball-related activities, including weight training, conditioning and skills work, for a maximum of eight hours a week. Only two hours per week can be spent on skills-related instruction.
UNC completed its fourth and final summer practice on Monday, which ran roughly 80-90 minutes, according to Williams. The remaining 30-40 minutes will be utilized for extra shooting work, which assistant Hubert Davis has coordinated in recent years.
The primary focus of the summer sessions was freshmen acclimation.
“My goal has always been, No. 1, to let the freshmen understand what practice is going to be like,” Williams said. “No. 2, talk to them and get them to understand the secondary break, then No. 3, the pace of the game that we want to play with. We try to emphasize to them that they may think they’re in shape but they’re nowhere near in shape to play.
“And then for the older guys, the upperclassmen, just put them in a position to see how they’ve improved, what they’ve done, and allow them to help coach the freshmen on as well.”
UNC is eligible to open preseason practice on Sept. 30.