Utah Jazz notes: Trio of Jazzmen out with injuries
Oklahoma City » The toll from playing 11 of 15 games on the road since the All-Star break might have caught up with the Jazz on Sunday as Andrei Kirilenko (calf), Mehmet Okur (back) and Ronnie Price (wrist) all sat out against the Thunder.
"We've got a lot of games right now on the road and that's probably one of the reasons," Kirilenko said. "It's a very intense month, you've seen our schedule, like for the next probably two weeks."
Kirilenko exited Friday's loss to Milwaukee in the third quarter after straining his left calf and will undergo an MRI exam today. He reported little improvement, but was optimistic that he hadn't suffered a torn muscle and would miss only two or three days.
Although he is wearing a walking boot, Kirilenko said it was primarily to help ease the weight and pressure on his leg and calf.
Okur, meanwhile, sat out with back spasms, which he first felt at halftime of the Milwaukee game. He pushed through the second half, but couldn't go Sunday. Okur did some shooting on the court at Ford Center but said he couldn't play defense or rebound.
Okur suggested that he might go for a painkilling injection today that could help him play tonight against Washington.
Price missed his second game after spraining his right wrist coming down from a dunk in the second quarter of Wednesday's victory at Detroit. Price also will go for an MRI today but said he felt he was making progress, though he has dealt with wrist problems in the past.
Without Kirilenko, Okur and Price, the Jazz were down to just nine players against Oklahoma City. C.J. Miles and Paul Millsap started while Sundiata Gaines served as backup point guard.
Kosta Koufos posted impressive numbers in two games on assignment with the NBA Development League's Utah Flash this weekend, highlighted by a 26-point, 16-rebound, four-block effort Saturday at Reno in which he made 12 of 17 shots.
"He's improved a whole lot," Flash coach Brad Jones said. "His energy level's better, his understanding of playing pro basketball, playing with his teammates, running the Jazz's system. He didn't score outside of the offense last night. I was very pleased with everything he brought."
The Jazz might opt to recall Koufos for tonight's game depending on their injury situation.
The Jazz as expected signed Othyus Jeffers to a second 10-day contract. They will have to decide when it expires about signing Jeffers for the rest of the season. "You've got to take everything they give you with the possibility that this is your evaluation," Jeffers said.
The NBA has 59 full-time referees, yet the same rookie referee whose foul call on Paul Millsap in the final seconds doomed the Jazz to defeat on their last trip to Oklahoma City ended up working yet another Jazz-Thunder game at Ford Center.
Referee Kane Fitzgerald was part of the crew that included Joe DeRosa and James Capers . Back on Dec. 31, Fitzgerald called a loose-ball foul on Millsap with 4.5 seconds left that sent the Thunder's Nick Collison to the foul line for the game-winning free throws.
At EnergySolutions Arena
Time » 7 p.m.
TV » FSN Utah
Radio » 1320 AM, 98.7 FM
Records » Jazz 42-24, Washington 21-43
Last meeting » Jazz, 103-89 (March 17, 2009)
Line » Jazz by 13