Jazz waiting on Kirilenko, Boozer
As much as they hope for a quick return from Carlos Boozer and Andrei Kirilenko after the All-Star break, the Jazz are not expecting to be at full strength for their first practice back from the break Monday evening.
Kirilenko pronounced himself pain-free Wednesday, less than two weeks after undergoing surgery to remove bone fragments from his right ankle. His hope is to practice Monday and play Tuesday against Memphis.
Boozer, however, has not been cleared to resume running and was unclear about when he would be able to play. Boozer has missed 41 games -- officially half the season -- since injuring his left knee Nov. 19 and undergoing surgery Jan. 9.
"We'll see," Boozer said. "I'm going to go home, I'm going to rehab in Miami, and continue my regimen and push it as hard as I can and we'll see what happens when I get back."
Boozer previously had targeted Tuesday's game to return. In light of that, Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor was asked Wednesday about Boozer now being noncommittal about his timetable to return.
"I would be noncommittal, too, on it," O'Connor said. "As I said from the start, we would exercise caution on it. I don't have a good answer for you. I know this: He doesn't take days off, he works and rehabs, and I just don't know where it is."
Boozer has done some shooting but no running. Kirilenko, meanwhile, said his ankle "feels great" and that he's done light court work. He also acknowledged that returning next week would be earlier than expected after having surgery Jan. 30.
"It's definitely very smooth," Kirilenko said. "Four weeks is probably rough, but two weeks is the quickest as possible for this kind of injury. So I will try to be as quick as well."
With the NBA trade deadline arriving a week from today, O'Connor suggested the Jazz are primarily interested in the team they will be once Boozer and Kirilenko return.
The Jazz went into Wednesday out of playoff position, but O'Connor said: "I don't know what we could do that would jump-start it, so to speak. What I'd like to see is us get two of our very best players back and healthy and try and see where we can go."
At the same time, O'Connor cautioned against expecting an immediate reversal of fortune once those players return.
"Nobody's going to come in on a white horse and save the day," O'Connor said. "We've got to continue to play and continue to compete, but it would be nice to play with a full roster."
O'Connor declined to comment about trade talks, but did say the Jazz could add payroll and that teams were interested in the 2010 first-round draft pick they are owed from New York. "Everybody's doing their job and inquiring about it," he said.
Brevin Knight missed his second game with a bruised left quadriceps. The Jazz went into the All-Star break 34-19 last February.