Utah Jazz: Okur will return, Kirilenko won't against Celtics

Published March 22, 2010 2:00 pm
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Mehmet Okur is expected to return for the Jazz tonight from a stomach ailment against the Boston Celtics, but Andrei Kirilenko said he would miss at least one more game with his strained left calf.

"Right now, it's really a game to game decision," Kirilenko said, "really like how it's going to feel when I warm up, how it's going to feel at shootaround." After going through shootaround Monday, Kirilenko said his calf was "not quite there yet."

Okur left Friday's loss to Phoenix in the second quarter after becoming ill and went home sick before Saturday's victory over New Orleans. Kirilenko, meanwhile, will sit out for the fifth time in six games with his injured calf.

Kirilenko could play Wednesday when the Jazz open a three-game trip at Toronto. He said Monday that he's still experiencing tightness in the calf when he runs.

The Jazz also recalled Kosta Koufos from the NBA Development League's Utah Flash on Monday. Although the Flash have three games this week, the Jazz wanted to bring Koufos on their trip to guard against the possibility of being shorthanded.

They face a decision Tuesday about signing Othyus Jeffers for the remainder of the season, but general manager Kevin O'Connor said the decision to recall Koufos does not preclude the Jazz from keeping Jeffers.

The Jazz must carry 13 players to meet NBA roster minimums and Jeffers is their 13th player for now. If they opted not to sign him, the Jazz would have two weeks before being required to sign another player. Jeffers has appeared in six games, averaging 3.2 points.

"It's been more difficult for him than it was for Yata [Sundiata Gaines], because Yata got to play because of an injury and he had some practice time," O'Connor said. "[Jeffers] hasn't gotten a chance as much but he's done everything we've asked him to do."

Koufos did not play in the Flash's loss Sunday night to Los Angeles after returning to Utah to work out with Marcus Elliott, who runs the Peak Performance Project in Santa Barbara, Calif, a performance center with which the Jazz are affiliated.

Jazz coach Jerry Sloan also had little to say Monday about the NBA's decision not to suspend or fine him for his actions and ejection at the end of Friday's loss to Phoenix.

"I don't want to comment on that and just go on forward and go about our business," said Sloan, who raised a forearm to the chest of referee Michael Smith before he was ejected. "That's behind us."

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