Jazz: D-Will, Price sidelined?
Boston » As the Jazz wrapped up practice Tuesday in the basement gym at Suffolk University, Deron Williams sat to one side of the court with headphones around his neck while Ronnie Price fiddled with his phone off to the other side.
Of the three point guards on their roster, the Jazz were down to only one at practice, as Williams sat out with the strained back he suffered in Monday's victory over New York while Price continued to be bothered by a sprained left big toe.
Whether the Jazz will have Williams and/or Price for tonight's game against the Celtics remains to be seen. Price is questionable with a toe he described as "sore, really sore," while Williams again suggested he would not be playing if Price were healthy.
Without Williams and Price, the Jazz would be left with just nine players in uniform, already missing C.J. Miles, Kyle Korver and Matt Harpring. They were so depleted, in fact, they could only play three-on-three at practice.
"We just have to play," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "We can't call [the games] off. Just see what happens, see who shows up and who's able to play. That's part of it."
Williams offered a three-word summary on the state of his back -- "sore, tight, stiff" -- and said of playing tonight: "I don't know. Ronnie Price put me in a tough position. I've just got to see how it feels, though, get some more treatment and massage."
"Of course I want to play," added Williams, who also is nursing a bruised left calf. "It's the Celtics, I like playing in that arena. That's always a fun game to be a part of, but I have to see how my back feels in the morning."
If neither Williams nor Price can play, the Jazz would turn to rookie point guard Eric Maynor, who has played just 16 minutes this season.
"Everybody wants to play, you know, so of course it's been tough," Maynor said. "But I'm learning more and more every day. Like I said, whenever [Sloan] calls my name, I'll be ready to go."
Sloan added that Andrei Kirilenko and Ronnie Brewer also could expect to see time at the position.
The circumstances couldn't seem more daunting for Maynor, who would be making his first start against a veteran team that won the 2007-08 NBA championship and is giving up a league-leading 84.4 points a game on 42.1 percent shooting.
"I'm a basketball player just like they are," Maynor said, "even though that's a great basketball team, been world champions before. You've got to be ready. That's the nature of the business."
After battling a strained hamstring in the preseason, Price had supplanted Maynor as the Jazz's backup point guard. He was injured, though, in the second quarter Monday when he came up with a steal and felt a pop in his foot as he tried to accelerate up court.
Price has been able to get around -- Williams was moving better than expected Tuesday as well -- but can't flex his toe and has compensated by walking on his heel.
"I've never had this injury before, so it's something that's new to me," Price said. "I don't know how to really react to it, so I go off what my body tells me and go off what [trainer] Gary [Briggs] tells me."
The Jazz, meanwhile, will look to build on Monday's 95-93 victory over the Knicks, a game in which they gave back all of a 21-point second-half lead but held on late. It was the Jazz's first road victory of the season and first win in New York in six seasons.
"For us, we did a good enough job to win and got a good enough stop at the end of the game," Carlos Boozer said.
That likely won't be enough against the Celtics, who have opened the season 7-1. The Jazz lost 100-91 in Boston last December, with Sloan describing his team afterward as being "intimidated a great deal" by the Celtics in a 28-16 first quarter.
"We just can't be intimidated," Williams said. "They're a basketball team just like we are. We've just got to go out there and play our game, get stops, execute, make them guard. We've had some success against them in the past."
The Jazz had four players chosen for the 2010 All-Star Game ballot -- Williams, Boozer, Paul Millsap and Mehmet Okur -- but former All-Star Andrei Kirilenko was not one of them, even though Kirilenko is tied with Pau Gasol as the league's 11th-highest paid player this season, making $16.5 million.
Today, 5:30 p.m.
TV/Radio »FSN Utah/1320 AM, 98.7 FM
Records » Jazz 3-4; Boston 7-1
Last meeting » Jazz won 90-85 on Feb. 19
Line ≥ Boston by 91/2
About the Jazz » Perhaps a return to Boston will be the spark Paul Millsap needs. Millsap scored a career-high 32 points against the Celtics in the Jazz's loss last December, but has gotten off to a slow start this season. Millsap finished with four points, five rebounds while making just 1 of 5 shots in Monday's victory over New York.
About the Celtics » The Celtics have been off since beating New Jersey 86-76 on Saturday. Rasheed Wallace is averaging 10.5 points and 4.5 rebounds since coming to Boston as a free agent. The Celtics have gone 92-25 since the start of the 2007-08 season with their starting lineup of Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins.