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Kings forward Justin Williams expected to play in Game 1

Apr 12, 2011, 8:24 PM EST

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Justin Williams Getty Images

When Kings forward Justin Williams went down with a dislocated shoulder three weeks ago, at the time the Kings didn’t know it’d be the least of their worries offensively. Williams and his 22 goals and 35 assists tied him for second on the team in scoring with Dustin Brown behind Anze Kopitar. With Kopitar out for the rest of the playoffs with a broken ankle, getting Williams back in the lineup as soon as possible became the top priority.

The Kings can stop worrying about that now as Williams is expected to be in the Kings lineup for Game 1 against San Jose on Thursday night. Without Kopitar, Williams figures to end up on a line with either Jarrett Stoll or even Michal Handzus. With Williams set along the right wing, they’ll be hoping his shoulder will be strong enough and stable enough.

Kings coach Terry Murray tells Rich Hammond at the Kings website that Williams shouldn’t have any issues.

“He’s got the green light. It’s 100 percent,” Murray said after Tuesday’s practice.  “His strength is great. He did all the testing. The only restriction would be because of the shoulder harness that he’s wearing. Scratching the top of your head is basically what he couldn’t do.”

Let’s just make sure they’ve got someone to help him get his helmet on just to be safe.

Playing through an injury like this comes with risks. Playing so relatively soon after a dislocation leaves you susceptible to having it pop out again with minimal jarring. Williams wearing a harness to keep his shoulder from moving in too wide a range is going to help him, but if it gets re-aggravated don’t be shocked.

The Kings come into the playoffs as the lowest scoring team of the 16 in the postseason. To be able to beat the Sharks, the Kings will need to be defensively stellar but they’re also going to desperately need the goals from Williams and Brown and Ryan Smyth as well. Don’t expect the Sharks to play nice and go lightly on Williams.

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