Kirilenko improving, could practice this week
The swelling has gone down in Andrei Kirilenko's right ankle, but the Russian is unlikely to play in Monday's home game against Toronto, Kevin O'Connor said Saturday.
"It's better. He can move around," said O'Connor, the team's senior vice president of basketball operations. "But he hasn't tried running yet."
The team hopes Kirilenko can return to practice sometime this week, but O'Connor said it's too early to make any predictions about whether he would accompany the team to Sacramento for Wednesday's game.
Gordon Giricek is also progressing, but O'Connor said his status remains even more uncertain. Both will be examined again Monday.
C.J. Miles didn't have to see the Jazz's new uniforms Saturday to know how they would look on him.
"I've never worn an ugly uniform," the second-year guard said. "Even if I did, once you get out there and start playing, you never even think about what you're wearing."
Still, the baby-blue jerseys and shorts were generally well-received in the Jazz's locker room. One critic said the vertical "Utah" lettering on the shorts "looked like high school," but that was only a minor criticism, especially compared to the alternate uniforms unveiled by the Washington Wizards earlier in the evening. The Wizards' uniforms feature gold jerseys and dark shorts.
Utah's is expected to be a good look, particularly once the Christmas shopping season gets under way. The Jazz frequently promoted during Saturday's game the fact that the team-owned Fanzz merchandise stores all stock the new jerseys.
"Our sales will go up quite a bit for the next month or two," said Robert Hyde, president of Fanzz. "The new ones will be four- or five-to-one over the other jerseys for awhile."
Particularly since the light blue is expected to appeal to a segment of consumers that might not have bought the white or dark blue jerseys: Women.
The Jazz were interested in adding an alternate jersey (as opposed to throwbacks, uniforms used long ago), but their options were limited. Their logo only includes two shades of blue, plus purple, "and the NBA won't let you use black anymore," Hyde said. "We thought this was a good option."
Saturday's game was a sellout, the first of the season in the Delta Center. Last season the Jazz sold out five games, but none until their 15th home game, on Dec. 31. . . . Utah ranks second in the NBA in offensive rebounding, and third in defensive boards and total rebounds.