Roy Williams learning new limits after surgery
by By Nicole Auerbach, USA TODAY Sports
CHARLOTTE — North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams learned the hard way that he can’t be as hands-on as he normally would during practice this fall.
“I stretched up quickly and got my hands up and back — (showing players how) to not foul somebody,” Williams said. “It felt like my whole stomach was pulling apart, which it wasn’t. It’s like I told everybody, ‘I thought I was this tough guy and found out I’m the biggest pansy in the world.’ “
Williams, who spoke to reporters at the Atlantic Coast Conference media day Wednesday, underwent surgery to remove a tumor from his right kidney nearly a month ago. Doctors discovered a similar tumor on his left kidney, but determined from biopsies that neither tumor was cancerous. Williams did not require surgery on his left kidney.
Recovering from surgery as college basketball season begins hasn’t been easy for Williams. Doctors told him not to lift anything more than five or 10 pounds and to limit himself to four to six hours of work a day. In two weeks, Williams hopes to be cleared to do more. Doctors told him initially that he should feel 95% normal at the six-week mark of recovery.
“First day of practice, I went wacko about 10 minutes into practice so my determination to be calm didn’t last very long,” Williams said. “I went home and told my wife, ‘I’m going to be better tomorrow.’ The second day, I did it about 15 times.
“There are just some things I can’t attempt to demonstrate that I could in the past. You can’t yell too much because it comes from your core. Still got those incisions and the stitching has to dissolve — it hasn’t done that yet.”
Williams participated in UNC’s “Late Night with Roy” season kickoff event last week, and the 62-year-old coach seemed to be in good spirits at the conference’s media day Wednesday. He said he’s hoping that he’ll appreciate the season more after his cancer scare.
“I really want to enjoy the journey a heck of a lot more myself,” he said. “I preach that every year to … [For more on Roy Williams learning new limits after surgery, click here.]