SALT LAKE CITY -- Even though he could tell most of the fog had lifted, Jazz forward Marvin Williams knew there were still a few patches of cloudiness around his brain.
"I still kind of feel a little different," he said earlier this week, prior to returning from the Nov. 28 concussion he suffered during the second half of a 96-84 win at New Orleans.
After falling and banging his head on the hardwood, the 27-year-old experienced intense headaches that not only relegated him to the bench, but forced him into darkness for nearly a week.
After missing three consecutive games, Williams finally returned to the court for Wednesday's home victory over the Orlando Magic.
"I felt good, I felt really good," he said Thursday. "I got winded but that was to be expected, obviously, with the week off. But other than that I felt great."
Williams started at small forward and played more than 23 minutes, scoring eight points on 3-for-7 shooting while collecting four rebounds.
"Thankfully, I felt really good," he said. "Nothing was too extreme for me at all."
The seven days of waiting and undergoing numerous NBA-mandated mental evaluations left Williams anxious to play. In fact, he thought he felt well enough to play Monday when the Jazz played host to the Los Angeles Clippers.
In keeping with protocols, he passed a series of evaluations and was cleared to go through the team's shootaround Monday morning. He even met with reporters afterward and said he felt fine, that the headaches had diminished and that he expected to play that night. However, later that afternoon he was hit with another headache and not long after he arrived at EnergySolutions Arena medical personnel told him he'd have to sit out at least one more game.
Although disappointed, Williams said he had no problem leaving the decisions up to the Jazz medical staff.
Ultimately, he went through all protocols and was finally cleared. He is expected to be available again tonight when the Jazz host the Toronto Raptors.
"I'm very confident in our trainers and doctors," Williams said. "If they clear me to play, I'm more than confident in getting back out there."
Because players often push themselves to get back on the court, often risking their long term health, the NBA has put in place strict rules governing concussions.
Before the start of the season, each player in the league undergoes a neurocognitive exam to determine a baseline score.
If a player suffers a concussion or any other head-related trauma during the season, he is required to retake the exam until he meets or exceeds his baseline level.
During a Nov. 2 victory over the Jazz in New Orleans, Hornets rookie Anthony Davis suffered a concussion and missed the next two games. Head coach Monte Williams was fined $25,000 after he railed against the league's concussion policy, saying the NBA might as well put players in "white gloves and pink drawers."
But Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said he has no problem with a more cautious approach.
Corbin said he has never been diagnosed with a concussion but had been knocked "loopy" a few times during his playing career.
"With all the studies that's going on, not just with basketball but football, (it's important to monitor concussion symptoms)," he said prior to Wednesday's game.
"I've been hit in a game and you shake it off. You're not really there but you don't want to come out of the game so you kind of shake it off and work your way through it. But it's a little dangerous (and) with all the education we have now I think it's smarter to be ahead of it than to get somebody hurt."