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Aaron Falk, Tony Jones and Steve Luhm cover the Utah Jazz and the NBA for The Salt Lake Tribune. The Tribune on Twitter - Aaron Falk: @tribjazz, Steve Luhm: @sluhm, Tony Jones: @Tjonessltrib

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With Raja Bell out, Utah Jazz's Josh Howard could crack starting lineup

Jazz small forward C.J. Miles initially filled in for guard Raja Bell on Saturday during the second half of a home win against Sacramento. But there's a chance forward Josh Howard could replace Bell in the starting lineup tonight against Portland.

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Bell left the Kings game just before halftime due to a strained right adductor. Miles then teamed with Gordon Hayward in the first unit after the break.

Bell said he is out tonight against the Blazers, and Miles was initially expected to fill in. But Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin might insert Howard instead, in an attempt to counter the length of a Portland first unit that includes Gerald Wallace, LaMarcus Aldridge and Marcus Camby. If Howard starts, Hayward would likely be bumped down to the 2, allowing Miles to come off the bench as Utah's main reserve.

Howard, 31, hasn't started for the Jazz this season and is still finding his rhythm after missing four games from Jan. 15-21 due to a strained left quadriceps.

Corbin said after shootaround this morning he had a replacement lineup in mind. He would not reveal it, though.

Derrick Favors will likely replace Al Jefferson (inflamed right ankle) if he's unable to play. Jefferson is listed as doubtful, but said after shootaround he'll re-evalaute his ankle before tipoff.

Brian T. Smith

Twitter: @tribjazz



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