Jazz coach to players: Enjoy All-Star break but stay ready
Minneapolis • Utah Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin won't see his team for four days.
His players scattered after Wednesday night's game against Minnesota because of the All-Star break.
The Jazz will gather again Monday in Salt Lake City for practice, meaning Corbin's players will be on their own as far as staying in shape and getting themselves ready for the season's stretch run.
Asked what message he gave them regarding their down time, Corbin said, "Rest your body. First of all, get some rest. Enjoy yourself, but be safe and understand in a few days you'll be back at work."
According to Corbin, it is imperative players don't shut down completely during the All-Star break.
"They have to make sure they watch what they're doing," he said. "They have to try and get some kind of exercise to keep their wind out so they can come out of the break ready to go."
Speaking before the tipoff against the Timberwolves, Corbin expected a good effort despite the players' looming vacation.
"We talked about it," Corbin said. "But I think the guys understand the importance of where we are and of trying to finish the best we can in the best position we can before the break."
Williams takes next step to recovery
Jazz point guard Mo Williams underwent a successful procedure Wednesday in New York to have two pins removed from his injured right thumb.
It represents the first major step toward his return to action.
Corbin did not talk to Williams, but trainer Gary Briggs did and he reported a positive result.
"I think everything went well," Corbin said. "... The message is for him now is to proceed as he can tolerate the pain and continues to get better."
Williams has missed 26 straight games since tearing a ligament in the thumb on Dec. 22 in Miami. A timeline for his return has not been determined. He is expected to return to Salt Lake City and begin rehabbing the thumb immediately.
Williams originally underwent surgery on Jan. 4. The procedure was performed by specialist Michelle Carlson, who also removed the pins holding the repaired ligament in place.
Kirilenko out vs. Jazz
Forward Andrei Kirilenko, midway through his first season with Minnesota after a decade in Utah, did not play against the Jazz.
Kirilenko missed his fifth straight game because of a quad strain.
"He's a great individual," Corbin said. "We miss him not only his basketball play but because of the kind of person he is. ... We wish him well."
Despite not playing against Utah, it hasn't been a completely disappointing week for Kirilenko.
On Tuesday, he was named the 2012 Player of the Year by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA).
Kirilenko was honored for his play last season with CSKA Moscow and the Russian national team, which won the bronze medal at the London Olympics.