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Posted: 1:26 PM- Deron Williams was out of a walking boot and wearing an air cast and sneakers at Thursday's pregame shootaround, a scene that only will increase speculation the Jazz guard will make a faster-than-expected return from his sprained left ankle.
Williams was even on the floor after shootaround, passing to Ronnie Brewer in a shooting drill. As he walked to his car afterward, Williams pulled up the left leg of his warmups to show reporters that he wasn't even wearing the air cast home.
"I'm going to see how it feels every day, keep getting treatment and play as soon as possible, as soon as it feels great," Williams said. "It still hurts, I'm just trying to get there as fast as possible. It's better for me to walk on it, put pressure on it right now."
A Jazz official said Williams has been so dedicated to treating the ankle, he has been getting up in the middle of the night for extra sessions. His ankle was so swollen after the sprain that the toes on his left foot turned yellow.
Ronnie Price will start for the Jazz tonight against Portland in the team's final preseason game. The Jazz ruled out Williams for at least two weeks with the injury, but he could be back for Wednesday's opener if he already is out of the walking boot.
"He's not going to be out for a long time," Price said, "so people don't get used to not seeing Deron in a jersey because his will and desire to get back and to be on the floor is probably stronger than anybody else's that you can think of.
"So all we're going to do is keep motivating him and encouraging him that we're going to try to win without him and when he gets back, he can just lead us to the championship."