Former Duke All-American Jason Williams will not be able to play in the 2003-04 NBA season, Chicago Bulls general manager John Paxson said Monday. Williams suffered a broken leg, broken pelvis, and a torn anterior cruciate ligament in a motorcycle accident last Thursday while driving on Chicago's North Side.

"I would have to assume that, yes," Paxson said in a press conference Monday. "That's a question for doctors and for his family to answer. But we do have to work under that assumption."

The severity of Williams' injuries is yet to be disclosed, though it is clear that the Bulls' No. 2 Draft Pick in 2002 may not participate in basketball ever again, according to an unidentified source for the Associated Press.

Williams had been the focal point of myriad trade rumors as the 2003 Draft approached, but any such rumblings have been squelched since his accident.

"We're a basketball team, and this is a business," Paxson said. "But all I've thought about the last three days is the fact that there's a young guy that's part of our basketball family that's laying in the hospital, uncertain about his future. It's not how it affects us as a group. Those are things we'll deal with, but you really worry about him and how he's handling it."

When Paxson visited Williams in the hospital recently, Williams was apologetic.

"The first thing he said to me was that he was sorry, and I told him not to worry about it. He's a conscientious young guy. His spirits were pretty good that day, and they've gotten better every day since?. On Saturday he actually picked up the phone himself and talked to me, and he was feeling better."

UPDATED AT 3 A.M. SATURDAY, JUNE 21, 2003:

The basketball career of Jason Williams, a former Duke All-American and current Chicago Bull, is now in considerable jeopardy after crashing his new Yamaha motorcycle into a pole at a street intersection in the North Side of Chicago. Williams was immediately transported to the Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago where he underwent immediate surgery.

Though it has been made clear by Chicago Bulls officials that Williams' condition is not life-threatening, the Chicago Tribune reported early Saturday morning that Williams is in the intensive care unit suffering from injuries to his pelvic area, left leg and knee.

An unnamed source told the Tribune that Williams had undergone one surgery thus far to repair nerve damage in his pelvic area, and that he may require several other operations, one of which may be a reconstructive surgery on his injured knee.

The source also painted an optimistic picture of Williams' future, saying he could miss one season but possibly return soon thereafter. Such is good news following a day in which speculation swirled regarding the severity of Williams' injuries.

"Jay Williams has a long road back," an unnamed source close to the situation told the New York Times late Friday night. "There is a lot to be done. We don't know the full extent of the injuries. We don't know the full extent of what medicine and doctors can do. But it is a very serious situation."

A separate source told the Times that paralysis was not believed to be a threat to Williams. Still, Williams' injuries were severe, as he had torn all of the ligaments in one knee, and are therefore potentially career-ending.

"When anything like this happens, you're just concerned that he's okay," Bulls coach Bill Cartwright told the Chicago Sun-Times. "And you hope he comes through fine so he can play again."

Bulls General Manager John Paxson issued a statement Thursday to assuage the fears of Jason's legion of fans that extends from his hometown in Plainfield, N.J., to Durham, N.C., to across the United States.

"The last thing on our minds right now is basketball, and the foremost thought on our minds is that of Jay's health," Paxson said. "We respect the privacy of the family and as time goes on we will be waiting for the family and doctors to report to us on Jay's status."

The details of Williams' accident are still hazy at best, though it has been reported by the Sun-Times that Williams was driving with a friend who was riding his own motorcycle. The front end of Williams' motorcycle was badly damaged, according to the Times.

A witness of the accident said that Williams' body came to rest about 10 feet from where the motorcycle had stopped after the accident, and that she overheard Williams screaming that he could not feel his legs, according to the Sun-Times.

The Tribune reported that Williams had purchased the motorcycle just one week ago, and did not have a license to operate a motorcycle in his home state of New Jersey or in Illinois. Williams could face citations for having driven the motorcycle without a license, but currently Williams had not been charged with any traffic violations.

The Tribune also reported that when Williams crashed Thursday he was not wearing a helmet. Williams has three previous traffic tickets on his record since January of 2001, according to the Tribune: for speeding, reckless driving and for unsafe operation of a motor vehicle. The tickets were issued in either New Jersey or North Carolina.

Williams' situation is eerily similar to that of another former Blue Devil All-American point guard, Bobby Hurley. A 1993 graduate, Hurley was seriously injured in an automobile accident during his rookie season with the Sacramento Kings.

For continued updates, stay tuned to The Chronicle Online.



ORIGINAL STORY, POSTED AT 7 P.M. FRIDAY, JUNE 20, 2003

Jason Williams, a former Duke All-American and current Chicago Bull, broke his leg and other bones in a motorcycle accident Thursday around 5 p.m. in the North Side of Chicago.

Late Thursday night, Williams' father David told the Associated Press that he expected Jason to be in surgery for three to four hours at the Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago.

Jason's condition is not life-threatening, though Bulls spokesperson Sebrina Brewster told the Chicago Sun-Times that the severity of his injuries was unknown.

"When anything like this happens, you're just concerned that he's okay," Bulls coach Bill Cartwright told the Sun-Times. "And you hope he comes through fine so he can play again."

As of 7 p.m. Friday, the Bulls were yet to release further information regarding Williams' status. However, a press conference or release is expected sometime Friday night.

Bulls General Manager John Paxson issued a statement Thursday to assuage the fears of Jason's legion of fans that extends from his hometown in Plainfield, N.J., to Durham, N.C., to across the United States.

"The last thing on our minds right now is basketball, and the foremost thought on our minds is that of Jay's health," Paxson said. "We respect the privacy of the family and as time goes on we will be waiting for the family and doctors to report to us on Jay's status."

The details of Williams' accident are still unclear, though it has been reported that the motorcycle Williams was driving was relatively new and had temporary license plates. Williams crashed his motorcycle into a pole at a street intersection, and no one else was injured.

Williams' situation is eerily similar to that of another former Blue Devil All-American point guard, Bobby Hurley. A 1993 graduate, Hurley was seriously injured in an automobile accident during his rookie season with the Sacramento Kings.

For continued updates, stay tuned to The Chronicle Online.