Deron Williams to play in London

Updated: March 4, 2011, 9:16 AM ET
By Mike Mazzeo | ESPNNewYork.com

New Jersey Nets point guard Deron Williams sat out Wednesday's practice with a strained right wrist and bruised left hand, but he was back Thursday and said he will participate in Friday's game in London against the Toronto Raptors.

"I'm playing," Williams told reporters Thursday at the team's practice facility.

Williams went through the non-contact portion of Thursday's practice in anticipation of the NBA's first-ever regular-season game in Europe.

"His hand situation has not significantly improved, but he's going to start and play tomorrow," coach Avery Johnson said during his Thursday conference call with reporters.

Williams said Wednesday that he'd need about three to four weeks of rest for his wrist to fully heal. He said, though, that "the Nets didn't trade for me to sit."

Asked about the possibility of shutting down Williams for a prolonged period of time, especially considering how far out of the playoff chase the Nets are, Johnson said that had not been discussed.

"I've seen that happen before, but right now for us we'd like to get through this London trip," Johnson said. "We'd like to get through our first couple games home when we return and we'll re-evaluate it at that point. We haven't talked about a shutdown date. Billy [King], [trainer] Tim [Walsh], Deron and I have all been on the same page and haven't discussed that option yet."

Williams suffered the strain on Jan. 26 while playing for the Utah Jazz and sat out four straight games. But immediately following his return to the lineup, the two-time All-Star re-aggravated the injury, which continues to hamper him.

He bruised the bone in his left hand during Monday night's 104-103 overtime loss to the Phoenix Suns.

In three games since being acquired by the Nets in a blockbuster deal, the 26-year-old Williams is averaging 14 points and 15.7 assists.

The Nets may have the services of backup point guard Jordan Farmar Friday as well.

Farmar (sprained ankle) was expected to miss seven to 10 days after his initial diagnosis. However, Johnson said he's improved significantly and will be a game-time decision.

He sat out the Suns' defeat.

The Nets also play the Raptors Saturday in London.

Mike Mazzeo is a regular contributor to ESPN NewYork.com. Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

Mike Mazzeo

ESPN New York Writer

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