Posted Online: Jan. 06, 2013, 10:14 pm

Orion grad Williams set to have knee surgeries

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By Daniel Makarewicz, danmak@qconline.com

Photo: Steve Woltmann
Loyola freshman forward and 2012 Orion graduate Tanner Williams goes up for a dunk against Rockhurst earlier this season. Williams will undergo the first of two knee surgeries on Tuesday to repair severe tendinitis. He will take a medical redshirt this season.
An inevitable result finally found Tanner Williams.

The way he sees it, that's not a bad thing.

Lingering knee pain that started during Williams' freshman year at Orion High School reached a breaking point in the last few months. The aching knees could not handle the rigors playing basketball at Loyola presented, forcing Williams to opt for season-ending knee surgery.

"I couldn't play on them," Williams said Friday afternoon. "I knew I needed surgery eventually. I decided to get it over with."

Diagnosed with severe tendinitis in both knees, Williams will undergo surgery on Tuesday in Chicago to repair the right one. A second surgery to correct the left knee will take place in four to six weeks.

Recovery from both surgeries should take six months.

"They said I should be back fine," Williams said.

The operations sidetrack what was a promising start to his Loyola career. In three games, Williams averaged 6.7 points and 2.3 rebounds in 10 minutes as a true freshman.

During those three games, though, the persistent discomfort from the tendinitis made it obvious he could not continue his career without surgery. Williams' last game was Nov. 17 at South Florida.

X-rays and a magnetic resonance image confirmed the tendinitis that grew worse by the day.

"I'd loved to be out there playing right now, but I know this will help me in the future," said Williams, who will have four years of eligibility remaining after receiving a medical redshirt. "I can still jump, but I'd be sore. I couldn't play a full college game."

Williams figured surgery would happen at some point, so he chose to have it at the start of his collegiate career.

He said doctors told him that they will make an incision on the outside tendon of his knee to remove scar tissue and other issues. The middle tendon will be removed and doctors will use needles to promote blood flow in the knee.

In preparing for surgery, Williams spent the last six weeks working on upper-body strength while attending Loyola practices and games. Williams said Loyola coach Porter Moser "still has faith in me" during this process and expects him to still make an impact the next four years.

Until that happens, Williams must endure two surgeries he was told has a 92 percent success rate and a lengthy rehab process.Once that process is over, he will rejoin a team that has seven freshman and a 10-4 record as of today.

Even better news is the next time Williams takes the court, he should have two healthy knees.

"I couldn't tell you how (I'll play)," Williams said, "but I'm looking forward to seeing what I can do."