Almond preparing for start tonight
From not even having a spot on the Jazz's 12-man active roster the past three games, Morris Almond could find himself starting in place of C.J. Miles in tonight's game against Detroit at EnergySolutions Arena.
"That's how quick things change in this league," Almond said, "so you've just got to make sure you stay ready."
With Miles unable to practice Friday and unlikely to play after suffering a moderate right ankle sprain Wednesday, Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said he would have no problem starting Almond, even if he had been on the inactive list.
"He's playing a lot harder here in practice and that's one of the things he had to work on," Sloan said.
Almond previously started the Jazz's Dec. 13 loss to Orlando and finished with five points but went 2 of 8 with three turnovers.
Under the knife
The Jazz offered no update Friday on the arthroscopic surgery Carlos Boozer underwent on his left knee in Los Angeles. Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor was waiting for the team's doctors to confer with Richard Ferkel, who performed the surgery.
Deron Williams stayed home from practice Friday with a sinus infection but is expected to play tonight. The Jazz are 7-0 against the Pistons in the four seasons since Williams arrived in Utah.
Along with assistant Scott Layden, Sloan attended the Utah Flash's game Thursday night in the D-League Showcase in Orem and was encouraged by Kyrylo Fesenko's 12-point, nine-rebound, three-block effort against the Los Angeles D-Fenders.
Compared to where Fesenko was a year ago, Sloan said, "I think he's made a lot of improvement." He watched Fesenko post up stronger than his rookie season and credited it to his sessions with the Jazz assistants and Matt Harpring.
Fesenko misfired on a number of left-handed shots but was able to follow up for baskets. "He tried to finesse it a couple times," Sloan said, "and then when he went after it, really attacked the basket, he was able to come away with something."
Fesenko picked up three fouls in a three-minute span in the fourth quarter and played less than 10 minutes in the second half. "I was a little bit frustrated," Fesenko said. "I'm sorry if kids hear some bad words, but they were in Russian."
How long Fesenko will stay with the Flash has yet to be determined. If he remains with the team next week, Fesenko would enjoy a three-game trip to Sioux Falls, S.D., Bismarck, N.D., and Reno, Nev.
"Do not talk about that," Fesenko said. "I'm so excited for five-hour bus ride. Woo-hoo. Back to school."
At EnergySolutions Arena
Tipoff » 7 p.m.
TV» FSN Utah
Radio » 1320 AM, 98.7 FM
Records » Jazz 21-15; Detroit 21-12
Last meeting » Jazz won 120-114 (2 OT) on Dec. 19.
Line » Jazz by X
About the Jazz » The Jazz have beaten the Pistons seven consecutive times, including last month's double-overtime victory in which Deron Williams scored a season-high 29 points. They will catch the Pistons in the final stop of a four-game trip.
About the Pistons » Richard Hamilton (strained left groin) and Rasheed Wallace (sore right foot) both are nursing injuries. The Pistons XXXXX to Denver on Friday night. Rodney Stuckey is the current Eastern Conference Player of the Week.