Atlanta • A murky back-and-forth situation between guard Raja Bell and the Jazz finally received some clarity Sunday.
Utah coach Tyrone Corbin said Bell won’t receive a green light until he provides the team with results of a second opinion on his left knee. He was re-evaluated early last week after undergoing a magnetic resonance imaging exam March 19. The initial test showed mild changes in Bell’s knee structure, consistent with a player of his experience level.
The 12-year veteran said several times in recent days that he’s healthy enough to play, and he expected to return to the active lineup Thursday at Sacramento. Due to a left adductor strain, Bell missed nine of 16 games from Feb. 20 to March 20.
Jazz general manager Kevin O’Connor told The Salt Lake Tribune an update about Bell’s status could be announced Monday before Utah plays at New Jersey. He added, though: “I don’t have anything new to say.”
But Bell delivered the biggest news himself. The 35-year-old guard told The Tribune after the Jazz’s defeat to Atlanta that the second opinion is being used to evaluate whether he’ll undergo microfracture surgery on his left knee.
Bell said the operation would be a last resort — he’s willing to play through pain and won’t end his season unless absolutely necessary. But while his knee often feels fine, it sometimes produces sharp pain during pregame warmups.
“They’ve already told me the solution to the problem: [microfracture],” said Bell, who hasn’t played in Utah’s last six games. “But I just want another doc to take a look and make sure that is, in fact, the remedy for that injury.”
Corbin made another important move Sunday, bringing Jamaal Tinsley off the bench as Devin Harris’ backup and turning Earl Watson into the Jazz’s third-string point guard.
With Harris playing 54 minutes and 51 seconds against the Hawks, Watson could see time against the Nets. But Corbin’s initial idea was to reward Tinsley, who excelled while Watson missed five games from March 15-22 due to a sprained left ankle.
Jazz at Nets
P At Prudential Center; Newark, N.J.
Tipoff • 5:30 p.m., Monday
TV • ROOT Sports
Radio • 1320 AM, 1600 AM, 98.7 FM
Records • Jazz 26-23, Nets 16-34
Last meeting • Jazz, 107-94 (Jan. 14)
About the Jazz • Utah fell to 7-17 on the road after losing to Atlanta on Sunday.
About the Nets • Former Utah guard Deron Williams is averaging team highs in points (21.9) and assists (8.2).