Utah Jazz Notes

Injury bug takes huge bite out of Jazz lineup vs. Warriors

First Published      Last Updated Apr 11 2017 09:13 pm

The Jazz look to be especially shorthanded Monday against the Golden State Warriors. That's saying something for a team that's only played 13 games with its preferred starting lineup.

Derrick Favors and Rodney Hood both are out in moves that essentially amount to rest. Raul Neto, who badly sprained his ankle against the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday, is out, and a timetable for his return isn't yet available.

Gordon Hayward, who tweaked his quad, will also sit out.

The good news? George Hill, Utah's starting point guard, has been upgraded to questionable and may play against Golden State.

Having so many people on the shelf doesn't seem conducive to the Jazz having success against the Warriors, who are playing as well as any team in the league. Golden State has won 14 consecutive games and is coming off a blowout win over the New Orleans Pelicans. And star forward Kevin Durant just returned.

The Warriors, who have locked up the top seed in the Western Conference, are expected to play most of their key players against the Jazz. Only shooting guard Klay Thompson is under consideration for rest among the team's main players.

Utah is tied with the Los Angeles Clippers for the fourth spot in the Western Conference, which carries homecourt advantage in the first round of the playoffs. But the Clippers hold the season tiebreaker, which means Utah doesn't control its destiny for the fourth seed.

The Clippers will clinch the fourth spot if they beat the Houston Rockets at home and the Jazz lose to the Warriors on Monday. Otherwise the race goes down to Wednesday night, the final night of the regular season.

"We're worried about playing well," Shelvin Mack said about the fourth seed. "That's more important to us. We know that no matter what, we're going to have to win games on the road at some point if we want to be successful."

The Jazz are 49-31 this season and end their season against the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night at Vivint Smart Home Arena. The Jazz are winless against the Warriors this season.

— Tony Jones