For the first time since he underwent surgery Jan. 9 on his left knee, Carlos Boozer is expected to practice today. The milestone will come almost three months to the day after Boozer went down in the Jazz's Nov. 19 victory over Milwaukee.
There's no telling how many practices he will need to feel comfortable enough to play in a game -- the earliest possibility is Saturday against New Orleans -- but as Boozer said Thursday, "I'm right there. That's what I think. I think I'm right there."
Boozer went through shooting drills and conditioning in practice Wednesday, but he did not scrimmage. He also received positive results from strength testing on his left knee, confirming that he can return to the court.
"Every now and then, I'll feel like a little something here and there, but nothing to discourage me, so I'll keep moving forward," Boozer said.
Boozer has missed 43 games since he was injured. With Andrei Kirilenko having returned from ankle surgery Tuesday, Boozer's return would put the Jazz at full strength for the first time all season.
"We know it's going to be an adjustment period," Deron Williams said. "He hasn't played for three months. He's been out for a while. It's good just to get him back on the court and see him on the court. You've got to be happy for him."
After sitting out for so long, Boozer said of his return: "I'll probably have a ton of emotions, be really excited initially. Just anxious, I think is the best word to use. I'm really anxious to get back on the court."
With the return of Boozer and Kirilenko set to fortify their lineup, the Jazz stood pat at Thursday's trade deadline as expected, with general manager Kevin O'Connor saying, "It's a matter of not having a deal out there that made our team better."
"We weren't looking to trade people, but we certainly listened," O'Connor added. "But we're not going to cosmetically do something to look like we're doing something."
The Jazz were approached by Sacramento about acquiring center Mikki Moore for a package of players with expiring contracts. Moore was set to make $6.2 million for 2009-10 but could have been bought out for $2 million by June 20.
With no takers, the Kings waived Moore after Thursday's deadline. Moore's agent, Mark Bartelstein , said he had yet to hear from O'Connor, adding, "We're just going to take a deep breath and get through today."
Moore wants to play for a contender -- an ESPN.com report linked him to Boston -- and Bartelstein predicted strong interest in the 11-year veteran. Moore averaged 3.5 points and 3.3 rebounds this season in Sacramento, where he started 20 games.
Moore played in 28 games with the Jazz in 2004-05, but has enough fondness for coach Jerry Sloan to make a point of shaking his hand every time he plays against Utah. "No question he had a great experience there," Bartelstein said.
The Jazz have a full roster of 15 players, which would require them to release a player in order to sign Moore.