Deron Williams is back.
Yet he is not at full force, and that's a reality the Jazz point guard is willing to not only face but embrace.
"I'm not going to try to come back and score 25 and (distribute) 12 (assists)," Williams said after dishing 15 assists and scoring 11 in Utah's win Wednesday over Memphis — the first game of his second comeback from a sprained left ankle sustained in the preseason, and just his third game of the season.
"I put my pride on who got shots," Williams added, "and try to run the offense."
Williams — who when he wasn't playing Wednesday stretched the ankle, kept heat on it and spent some time jumping on a mini-trampoline to keep the joint from stiffening — did experience a moment or two of concern in his first game since Nov. 17.
"A couple of times I would push off really hard, and it would hurt, but it only hurts for 25, 30 seconds and then it goes away," he said. "I actually twisted it a little bit on (Memphis forward) Rudy Gay's foot at halfcourt. I just fell down with it, so it didn't hurt so bad."
Williams, who had Thanksgiving Day off from practice along with the rest of the Jazz, wound up playing 29 minutes and 25 seconds against the Grizzlies.
But he isn't sure how many he'll log when the Jazz play host tonight to Sacramento and Saturday night to New Jersey, or even if he'll play at all in the second night of the back-to-back set.
"Depends on how I feel," Williams said.
"I know Coach (Jerry Sloan) isn't going to play me 40 (minutes) for a while," he added. "I might be able to do it. Maybe limit my minutes a little bit more on the back-to-back. We'll just have to wait to see."
HMMM: Last time the Jazz played back-to-back games at home was back in mid-February of 2001, when they lost 97-94 to San Antonio but bounced back the next night to beat New York 106-90.
MILESTONE MANIA: With a win tonight, Sloan would join Lenny Wilkens (1,332), Golden State's Don Nelson (1,285) and Pat Riley (1,195) among the only NBA coaches with 1,100 or more victories.
Just one other, Charlotte's Larry Brown, has more than 1,000.
LOOKING AHEAD: According to an Associated Press report, New Jersey star Vince Carter was carried to the bench and limped to the locker room with a hamstring cramp in overtime of Wednesday's win over Sacramento, but Carter — who scored 25 against the Kings — "is expected to play" when the Nets visit Utah on Saturday.
TICKET OFFER: A special ticket package — six upper-bowl tickets and six hot dogs for $90 — is being sold by the Jazz for both games this weekend.
To order, call (801) 355-3865 and use the password "UJHDOG."
COLLINS UPDATE: Injured reserve big man Jarron Collins will not be reevaluated until Jan. 3, the Jazz announced late Wednesday night.
Collins has opted for rest instead of surgery for his ailing right elbow, which is still inflamed following an offseason golf-cart accident, and related triceps tendinitis.
According to a statement from the team, "He will allow the elbow to heal for the next six weeks through triceps strengthening, shooting and cardiovascular work."
Collins has appeared in just two games this season.
Other Jazz injury updates: Power forward Carlos Boozer (strained quadriceps tendon/bruised kneecap) is not expected to play tonight, backup shooting Kyle Korver (sprained wrist) may and reserve point Brevin Knight (sprained finger) is doubtful.
Contributing: Jody Genessy