Shootaround Jazz's Raja Bell out, Al Jefferson doubtful vs. Blazers
Notes following Jazz shootaround Monday morning at EnergySolutions Arena.
Guard Raja Bell (strained right adductor) said he will not play against Portland. He is officially listed as doubtful.
"I'm out tonight," Bell said.
Center Al Jefferson (inflamed right ankle) is doubtful. During shootaround, Jefferson walked through an ESA tunnel wearing a boot on his right leg and limped heavily, favoring his left foot. He said he received a shot after a home game Saturday against Sacramento to address lingering pain in his right ankle, which left him feeling as if he were "walking on glass" versus the Kings. The majority of Jefferson's limp was caused by the shot, and he'll re-evaluate his ankle before tipoff.
If Jefferson can't play, Derrick Favors will likely replace him in Utah's starting lineup, while C.J. Miles will likely fill in for Bell. Devin Harris, Gordon Hayward and Paul Millsap should round out the Jazz's starting five.
Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said he has a replacement lineup in mind but wouldn't reveal it.
Jefferson on his injury: The pain I'm going through, it flare up again. I got a shot. So what I'm going through now is from the after effect of the shot. It's feeling better and better. I'm not counting out tonight. â¦ I done got this shot one time before. The first couple of the first day or so, it'll be kind of sore. Then once it goes away, it feels brand new. So I'm just in the process of that right now.
Corbin on the Blazers: You know what? They give you a little bit of everything and they compete on everything. They have tough guys that compete on opportunities to get early opportunity baskets. You watch Wes [Matthews] run and you watch [Gerald] Wallace run the floor to get that first look. I mean, they really make you get back in transition because they are trying to beat each other down to get that first easy look. The bigs do a great job of running down the middle; the paint guys, they can stop and hit the early shot. [Raymond] Felton and [Jamal] Crawford coming off the bench, we know how he can score they'll stop and shoot 3-point shots. So you've got to make sure as a committee, as a group, as a team that we're getting back, we're stopping the transition, and we've got to make sure that we control the easy opportunity baskets.
Important week for the Jazz: Yeah. We have a few more home games here. We've had a pretty good homestand so far. We've got three games coming up before we get to the meat of the season, the road games and we've got the back-to-back-to-back, which are all three road games. We've talked about taking care of our home business and it's really important that we finish up strong.
Appearing on 97.5 FM/1280 AM The Zone at 4:40 to discuss Blazers-Jazz.
Brian T. Smith