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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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Gordon Hayward doubtful against Rockets

>The Jazz are preparing to be without Gordon Hayward Monday when they play the Houston Rockets, after Hayward suffered a right shoulder sprain two days earlier.

Hayward fought through a screen to challenge a potentially game-tying shot by Indiana's Paul George in overtime of Saturday 114-110 victory, but collided with David West on the screen. He left the locker room that night in a sling.

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He is listed as doubtful against Houston and day-to-day going forward. Monday would be the first game Hayward has missed since his rookie season.

"It was a good hard screen," Hayward said. "Definitely felt it."

As the Jazz's top reserve, Hayward averages a career-high 13.5 points per game. He said he had full mobility in his arm, but described the shoulder as "very sore and very stiff."

"He was the key to the bench," forward DeMarre Carroll said following the team's Monday shoot around. "He scores the most points. I think we're just really going to have to pound the ball inside now."

Hayward leads a bench that averages 36.9 points game. In the absence of Mo Williams, who is still out following right thumb surgery, he has become a late-game option and played point guard in the final minute of regulation against the Pacers.

"Guys just have to step up," Carroll said. "Guys who usually haven't played a lot, Alec Burks, got to step up. It's an opportunity. The NBA is nothing but opportunities."

boram@sltrib.com

Twitter: @tribjazz



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