Utah Jazz: Star's strained tendon is still healing
MINNEAPOLIS - Carlos Boozer looked into the television camera before practice Monday, congratulated Jerry Sloan on reaching 20 years as Jazz coach and wished him well for another 20 years on the job.
Boozer, however, won't be part of tonight's anniversary game. He is expected to miss an 11th game after straining his left quadriceps tendon Nov. 19. Boozer said he planned to return either Thursday against Portland or Saturday against Orlando.
"We'd love to get him back as soon as possible," Deron Williams said. "We'd like to right this ship and go on a little streak. That's what we need."
Brevin Knight was back at practice Monday, though his voice sounded more like a croak. Knight spent Saturday night in a Phoenix hospital for observation after he was elbowed in the windpipe by Goran Dragic in the first quarter of the Jazz's loss.
Knight said it was the first time he had ridden in an ambulance, the first time he'd been to the emergency room and the first time he'd spent the night in an intensive care unit.
"It was a little nerve-wracking, especially when they tell you you can't fly for the risk that it'll fully close up," Knight said.
Knight was feeling better with the medication he'd been given. He's a game-time decision to play tonight, while Williams was able to joke at Knight's expense, saying, "He's the biggest talker on the team and can't talk right now."
On the eve of his anniversary game, Sloan was asked the question he said he gets all the time from everyone: How much longer does he plan on coaching? The only answer is that he has no answer.
"How do you know?" Sloan said. "I might wake up tomorrow morning and not feel very good, say, 'This is time for me to get out.' I have no idea. As far as the future's concerned, I've always taken it day by day.
"They might want to fire me. Even though they haven't thus far, who's to say they might come up and say, 'Well, it's time for us to go a different direction.' I would not have a problem with that. I just don't want to read about it in the paper."
Sloan said he considered stepping down after his first wife, Bobbye, died in 2004. The Jazz and Sloan are close to finalizing an extension for his return in the 2009-10 season.
Asked about the importance of winning on Sloan's anniversary, Williams had a humorous response: "We need a win regardless of anniversaries, birthdays, Christmas, Hannukah. We just need wins and road wins. We know he doesn't care, so we don't care."
Sloan has coached 123 players during his tenure with the Jazz. His youngest current player, 19-year-old rookie Kosta Koufos, hadn't even been born when Sloan took over on Dec. 9, 1988. . . . For the second time in three games, the Jazz will be facing a team coming off a coaching change. Jay Triano replaced Sam Mitchell in Toronto before Friday's game, and Kevin McHale took over Monday in Minnesota for Randy Wittman.