SALT LAKE CITY -- When Mo Williams tore ligaments in his right thumb last December, the Jazz point guard felt a shot of pain surge through his hand.
And the team -- indeed the entire franchise -- continued to feel the reverberations for months afterward. In fact, the fallout was felt as late as Wednesday night when Utah saw its playoffs crushed with a season-ending loss at Memphis.
"I think it would have been a lot different if I was healthy," Williams said Thursday as he and his teammates cleaned out there lockers and had exit interviews with team officials.
Williams, 30, is one of 10 potential free agents on the Jazz's current roster.
In the coming weeks and months the Jazz will have some critical decisions to make, namely what to do with Williams as well as veteran teammates Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap. But Thursday was about reflecting on missed opportunities and might-have-beens as much as it was about looking forward to next season.
"The injury kind of hindered us a little bit," said Williams, who missed 32 games between Dec. 23 and March 4. "I think we could have been in a better position as far as (making the playoffs)."
With Williams as their point guard this season, the Jazz went 22-24, which included a 9-3 mark over the last 12 games.
Overall, Utah finished with a record of 43-39, good enough for third in the Northwest Division and ninth in the Western Conference, missing the playoffs by two games.
Wednesday's loss to Memphis sealed their fate. Had the Jazz won the game and the Los Angeles Lakers lost to Houston, Utah would have punched its postseason ticket with the No. 8 seed.
Instead, L.A. topped the Rockets in overtime and will start the second season as the No. 7 seed.
And the Jazz were left to ponder their disappointment as they gathered one last time, said goodbye and met with coach Tyrone Corbin, vice president Kevin O'Connor and general manger Dennis Lindsey.
"The standards here are we've been a perennial playoff team," Lindsey said. "Even though we had a winning record, I think we fell short of one of our goals, namely being in the playoffs."
When the Jazz traded for Williams in June of 2012, the hope was his veteran presence, quickness and outside shooting ability could help lead their young team to a playoff run.
But Utah went 11-13 in his first 24 games and when it appeared Williams and his teammates were starting to mesh, the former Jazz second-round draft pick went down with the thumb injury.
Although the team went went 18-14 with Williams out of the lineup, Corbin said his initial absence caused a disruption.
Out of necessity, the Jazz changed the pace of their offense from an up-tempo to a slow-down style and they adapted rather nicely. However, when Williams returned the team had to modify its style and the result was a stretch in which they lost eight of 10.
"When he came back, it was starting all over again because it was so different for us," Corbin said. "We took a while when he came back to get re-adjusted to his pace compared the pace of Jamaal (Tinsley) and Earl (Watson)."
Teammate Randy Foye said the use of three different point guards -- four, counting second-year combo guard Alec Burks -- provided a challenge for the rest of the team.
"We had to play with Mo, then Earl than JT, then Mo," Foye said. "We went back and forth. But (Williams) did his best, he was hurt (and) came back, tried to do whatever he can."
Williams averaged 12.9 points and 6.2 assists for the season, shooting just 43 percent from the field.
However, he averaged 18.7 points and shot 47.6 percent from the field during a recent stretch.
He did, however, score only eight points on 3-for-13 shooting during Wednesday's loss.
The question is, could the Jazz have made the playoffs if their No. 1 point guard had been healthy?
That one was kicked around a few times on Thursday.
Lindsey said chances are "pretty good" Utah would be getting ready for the playoffs today had Williams not missed those 32 games.
"But look," he added. "I think you can point to a lot of stretches on the road where we had one-point losses, a few games at home where we caught fatigued teams, injuries, a couple of calls here and there. But the results don't lie, especially over 82 games."