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Brewer shrugs off accusation of dirty play
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2010, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Ronnie Brewer pleaded not guilty Friday after Portland's Nicolas Batum criticized him for perceived dirty play.

Batum, who missed the Blazers' first 45 games because of shoulder surgery, leveled his accusation following Utah's 118-105 win on Wednesday night.

Batum claimed that Brewer was intentionally running into him and targeting his shoulder while the Jazz were running their offense.

Batum, a second-year forward from France, left the game with 8:38 left in the first half after injuring his shoulder.

He returned in the second half and finished with eight points.

After the game, Batum said, "I know he did it on purpose because he tries to get me every time. Last game, he did the same."

In the Jazz's 106-95 win at Porland on Jan. 27, Batum scored 16 points in 27 minutes in his second game back from shoulder surgery.

The Jazz took Thursday off, but before Friday's practice, Brewer denied trying to injure Batum.

" Andre Miller came to me during the game and said, 'Hey, what's going on with you and Batum?' " Brewer said, referring to Portland's veteran point guard.

"I was like, 'What?' He said, 'Batum says you're trying intentionally to hurt him.' I was like, 'What? What are you talking about?' That was my reaction. I didn't know what he was talking about."

According to Brewer, Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor brought Batum's post-game complaint to his attention.

"It was kind of humorous, I thought," Brewer said. "I don't consider myself a dirty player. I didn't intentionally run into him or whatever they said I was doing."

Said O'Connor: "I told Ronnie to stop picking on guys."

When he informed Brewer of Batum's charge, O'Connor said, "Ronnie was genuinely surprised a comment was made. And if you go back and look at the tape, you don't see anything [dirty]."

Boozer's back?

Jazz power forward Carlos Boozer was scheduled to participate in practice and, if all went well, he will play in Saturday night's game against Denver.

Boozer has missed three 31/2 games after suffering a strained calf in the Jazz's win at Portland last week.

Boozer averages 19.2 points and 10.2 rebounds.

In his absence, Paul Millsap moved into the starting lineup. In wins over the Sacramento, Dallas and the Trail Blazers, he averaged 19 points.

O'Connor is encouraged by Boozer's quick return from his first injury this season.

Last year, he played in only 37 games because of a strained quad, arthroscopic knee surgery and a sprained ankle.

"He's conditioned himself well," O'Connor said, "so hopefully he can get right back into it."

Sloan planned to consult with trainer Gary Briggs before committing to the number of minutes Boozer will play against the Nuggets.

"I won't play him 40 minutes," Sloan said. "I'd be reluctant to do that because he's been out."

luhm@sltrib.com" Target="_BLANK">luhm@sltrib.com

Jazz vs. Nuggets

At EnergySolutions Arena

Tipoff » 7 p.m.

TV » FSN Utah

Radio » 1320 AM, 98.7 FM

Records » Jazz 30-18, Nuggets xx-xx

Season series » Nuggets, 3-0

Last meeting » Nuggets, 119-112 (Jan. 17)

Line » Jazz by 71/2

About the Jazz » They have won 11 of their last 12 games. ... At 30-18, they are four games ahead of last year's 48-win pace. ... They are 13-6 when F Andrei Kirilenko starts. ... Kirilenko needs 15 blocks for 1,300 in his career. ... They are 25-1 when leading after three quarters. ... In the last six games, F Paul Millsap averages 19 points on 44-for-72 shooting (.611). ... After tonight, the Jazz play 12 of their next 17 games on the road.

About the Nuggets » They are 5-1 in their last six games against Utah, going back to last season. ... They are 5-6 on the second night of back-to-back games. ... They lead the league in free-throw attempts per game (31.9) and rank third in scoring (106.8). ... They shot 49 free throws in their win over the Jazz three weeks ago. ... Their top scorers are F Carmelo Anthony (29.7) and G Chauncey Billups (19.2). ... Anthony is not expected to play (ankle).

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