The Utah Jazz will have only 10 players available Wednesday night, when they open the NBA’s regular season against Oklahoma City at EnergySolutions Arena.
Tip-off is 7 p.m. The game will be televised on Root Sports.
According to the Jazz, five players will miss the opener because of injury. The group includes Trey Burke (finger), Marvin Williams (Achilles), Brandon Rush (knee), Jeremy Evans (rotator cuff) and Andris Biedrins (ankle).
Four of Utah’s five starters seem certain.
Gordon Hayward will open at shooting guard, veteran Richard Jefferson will be the small forward, Enes Kanter is scheduled to start at center and Derrick Favors will be the power forward.
At point guard, Burke’s injury leaves the coach Tyrone Corbin two choices: veterans John Lucas and Jamaal Tinsley.
In the pre-game notes handed out by the team’s publicity department Wednesday morning, Lucas is listed at the starter. But after the Jazz’s morning shootaround, Lucas smile and said, “We haven’t decided yet.”
In Oklahoma City, the Jazz open with one of the best teams in the Western Conference. Led by Kevin Durant, the Thunder won 60 games last season and entered the playoff’s as the No. 1 seed.
All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook was injured in the first round, however, and the Thunder lost to Memphis in five games in the conference semifinals.
Westbrook won’t play tonight against the Jazz. He will be replaced by Reggie Jackson, with veteran Derek Fisher playing the role as back-up.
“We pretty much know what type of team they are,” Favors said. “... They are a good team. The main thing we have to do is make sure we contain Kevin Durant. He’s a good scorer — just make sure we contain him and keep him off the boards. If we do that, I think we have a good chance.”
Few expect much out of the young, rebuilding Jazz this season.
“That’s added motivation,” Favors said. “You can’t listen to what the critics say. It’s just added motivation for us, to prove everybody wrong.”
Jazz vs. Thunder
Wednesday, 7 p.m.
For Wednesday’s Jazz-Thunder matchups, stats, go to http://bit.ly/HiNEGJ