AKRON, Ohio -- It will be time for rookie Danny Ferry to step into prime time as the Cavaliers learned yesterday that power forward John Williams will be out for 4 to 6 weeks with a severely sprained left foot.
"I think we are going to put Hot Rod's foot into a cast on Monday and immobilize it for a week," said Cavs trainer Gary Briggs. "The injury is in the fore-foot, between the first and second toes. It is the spot that has to take a lot of strain because it is where you push off when you run and jump."
Briggs said that no surgery is planned, but that this type of injury usually needs at least a month to heal.
The 6-foot-11, 235-pound Williams crumpled to the floor with 17 seconds remaining in the Cavs' 99-94 victory over Milwaukee Friday night. He sat out the Cavs' 112-100 loss in Charlotte on Saturday, ending a streak in which he had played in 250 games that was the seventh longest in the NBA.
Williams is the highest paid player in the NBA this season at $5 million. The Cavs matched a 7-year, $26.5 million offer sheet from Miami to keep him. Williams had been the Cavs super-sub for most of the season, averaging 12 points, 6.7 rebounds and shooting 47 percent.
While GM Wayne Embry said that no decision has been made, it is safe to assume that Williams is headed for the injured list.
"Really, there isn't much we can do in terms of the roster," said Embry. "We're stuck in mud because we're way over the salary cap."
The Cavs probably will activate rookie center Milos Babic to replace Williams. Babic is on the injured list with an "arthritic ankle condition." But he has been able to practice and is eager to begin playing.
Williams served as a backup to center Brad Daugherty and power forward Larry Nance. In key moments of the game, Williams was on the floor, often teaming with Nance at the two forward positions.
With Williams out, coach Lenny Wilkens will have to turn to Ferry, the 6-10, 230-pounder from Duke. Ferry has a sprained ankle, but did score 14 points in 16 minutes on Saturday.
In the last five games, Ferry has racked up 36 points in 54 minutes, an impressive ratio. He is 11-for-21 from the field, 12-for-14 from the foul line and 2-for-2 on three-point shots.
But Ferry also has drawn 16 fouls in those 54 minutes -- a mind-boggling ratio.
L "I just have to play smarter and quit reaching," Ferry said.
Ferry said his ankle "feels pretty good. I should be able to practice Monday and be fine for our next game [Wednesday against Miami in Cleveland]. It was sore on Saturday, but it doesn't feel any worse after I played on it."
Ferry will have to play both center and power forward. "I know I'm a good player," Ferry said. "I'm just going through a real learning experience now. Believe me, I'll get much better as the season goes on."