Doctors advise Lobo forward Devon Williams to end career - Albuquerque Journal

Doctors advise Lobo forward Devon Williams to end career

University of New Mexico forward Devon Williams has played his final game for the Lobos.

Doctors examining a neck injury suffered during a game Sunday discovered he has spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal) and advised him to end his playing career, according to UNM head coach Craig Neal.

“It’s probably the hardest day that I’ve had for a long time, telling one of your sons or one of your kids that they can’t play the game that they love,” Neal said.

Williams, who was walking around practice in the Pit on Tuesday, was not at Wednesday night’s game against Loyola-Chicago, but he is expected to be available to media at a press conference today.

Lobo players all wrote “D-Will” on their shoes and dedicated the game, a 75-51 UNM victory, to their teammate.

“It was definitely an emotional game,” junior forward Tim Williams said. “We love Devon. … We came together and got the win for him.”

Devon Williams, a 6-foot-8 junior from Dallas, was injured in the second half of Sunday’s win at New Mexico State when he fell to the ground and collided with the thigh of a teammate. Williams suffered a spinal cord contusion and was face down on the court for about 10 minutes before being stabilized and taken off on a stretcher.

He stayed overnight in a Las Cruces hospital and only learned of the news about his condition Wednesday in Albuquerque.

Neal said Devon Williams is expected to earn an undergraduate degree in the spring.

Williams redshirted the 2012-13 season, played in five games as a freshman in 2013-14 and then started 30 games last season, averaging 6.7 points and 3.4 rebounds. He was the Lobos’ first big man off the bench this season.

“He was going to have a big year for us,” Neal said. “I kept telling him that he was going to be the best sixth man in the country. I kept telling him every day.”

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