Nets guard Deron Williams was not exactly hooping the way a max-contract guy is supposed to earlier this season, but according to the NY Post, D-Will’s poor play wasn’t due to a slump or any mental issues—it was because his ankle was killing him: “In case mediocre statistics were not a giveaway, Deron Williams’ body language provided a clue. Leadership was out of the question. It’s sort of tough to lead when you can’t walk up a flight of stairs or take the mascot off the dribble. Welcome to Williams’ world, before the NBA All-Star break. ‘I felt like I was hurting the team just being out there playing the way I was,’ Williams, who spent the first half of the season suffering through pain in both ankles, said yesterday after the Nets practiced for tonight’s game against Atlanta — a key meeting with possible playoff seeding implications and the final game before the longest road trip in team history, an eight-game, 17-day odyssey. ‘I couldn’t move, I couldn’t stay in front of anybody, I couldn’t beat anybody off the dribble, I couldn’t jump,’ said Williams, who had a platelet-rich plasma procedure and three sets of cortisone shots, the last coming before the All-Star Game. ‘If I did find some energy or no pain to do one move, by the time I did [that] it hurt so bad I couldn’t even jump to shoot a layup. It was just painful.’”