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Williams returns to injury site as Jazz visit Bulls

Dec 20, 2008 - 3:20 PM Utah (17-11) at Chicago (12-14), 8:30pm EST

CHICAGO (Ticker) -- The last time Deron Williams was in Chicago, his season was derailed before it even started. In a preseason meeting at the United Center, the star point guard of the Utah Jazz landed awkwardly on Bulls guard Derrick Rose's foot on a 3-point attempt, suffering a second-degree sprain of his left ankle.

That injury has had a profound effect on this season for the Jazz, thought to be one of the top contenders in the Western Conference. Williams was sidelined for 13 of the team's first 15 games - and even since his return, it has taken a while to get into top form.

But as he prepares to make his return to the Windy City, he may be starting to round into shape.

It's safe to say that the Jazz would likely be coming off a loss on Friday if Williams weren't healthy. The fourth-year guard had one of his best offensive showings of the season in a double-overtime victory over the Detroit Pistons. He buried a pair of clutch jumpers - one in regulation and one at the end of the first extra session - to keep Utah afloat, then drove the lane and kicked out to Kyle Korver for a back-breaking 3-pointer late in the second overtime to lead the Jazz to a crucial road victory.

The Jazz have now evened up their road record at 7-7 - and they'll need a few more if they expect to make up some of the ground lost due to their various injuries. All-Star forward Carlos Boozer has missed 16 straight games with nagging quad and knee injuries and is unlikely to play on Saturday, either.

While the Jazz are coming off a euphoric night, the Bulls' Friday was a bit more deflating. After playing the reigning champion Boston Celtics tough for one half, they were manhandled in the second half en route to a 126-108 loss.

But the Bulls now get to return home, where they are 9-3 this campaign.

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