Roy Williams tried to play golf the weekend before last, he said, and that experience provided him all the incentive he needed to finally schedule the knee replacement surgery that for a while has seemed inevitable for him.
“I was so bad and I hurt so much during the course of it,” Williams said of that particular round of golf. “So that was the final straw … and I interviewed four different doctors, and they told me there wasn’t much left to do.”
And so that was that: Williams, who was speaking Tuesday at the ACC’s annual spring meetings, scheduled the surgery to replace his right knee. He’ll have it done this month, and he plans to be back up and mobile by July, in time for the busy summer recruiting season.
The rehabilitation process and how long it lasts, Williams said, “depends on who it is.”
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“They say some guys are up walking without any assistance – crutches, cane, anything after three weeks,” Williams said. “Some guys are playing golf at eight weeks, and I’m sure there’s some guys that aren’t doing as well. So I think it depends on the individual. They will not give you a definitive time.”
This procedure, though, has been a long time coming. He had work done on his knees last summer, but they continued to ail him throughout the season. He wasn’t able to move as freely as he did when his knees were healthier, and he coached through pain at several points last season.
Williams at the end of the season said he was considering having both of his knees replaced. He’s still contemplating whether to undergo the same procedure on his left knee.
Before UNC played at Duke in early March, Williams briefly spoke with Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski, who at the time also was preparing to have knee replacement surgery. Krzyzewski had that procedure in early April and also had hernia surgery this week.
“The day that we played them in Cameron,” Williams said, “we shook hands before the game, I said, ‘Are you getting yours done?’ And he said, ‘Yeah, are you?’ And I said, ‘Yeah,’ and I said, ‘Why don’t you be the guinea pig.’ And so now he’s trying to have hernia surgery, too.
“I don’t want to go there. He can have that one, too.”
Krzyzewski didn’t attend the ACC meetings and has spent time this week recovering from surgery. Williams ordinarily might have played golf Tuesday after the basketball coaches’ meeting ended about noon.
Instead he had on pastel-colored swim shorts adorned with sea horses. He was headed to the pool.
NOTE: An earlier version of this story reported that Williams is having surgery to replace both of his knees. The procedure later this month is for only his right knee.