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Matt Piper and Kyle Goon
Matt Piper and Kyle Goon cover University of Utah sports teams for The Salt Lake Tribune. Matt Piper is on twitter at @matthew_piper, Kyle Goon is on twitter at @kylegoon

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Utah Hoops - The first injury of the season

That distinction goes to 6-foot-11 big man Marko Kovacevic, who didn't practice on Monday afternoon and had a brace on his wrist.

Kovacevic - the junior college transfer from Western Nebraska - will have an MRI. The length of time he will miss depends on the severity of the injury.

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"He's got something going on in there," Utes coach Larry Krystkowiak said. "So we have to find out what the problem is."

Kovacevic has been on campus all summer. He's one of four players with size, and is expected to be in contention for playing time.

If he has to miss any practice time, it will further thin out a frontcourt that can use all the bodies it can get. With Jordan Loveridge working out with the wings and the guards, it's presumed that the sophomore will spend more his time this season at small forward.

That leaves Kovacevic, Jeremy Olsen, Renan Lenz and Dallin Bachynski in the paint. Without Kovacevic, Loveridge will probably play more power forward.

It's still speculation. The results of the MRI aren't in. But Kovacevic at the very least can ill-afford to lose time in practice. In truth, nobody can. On this Utah roster, the battle for minutes is more competitive than any time in Larry Krystkowiak's three-year tenure.

Kovacevic faces a challenge to get on the floor. If he's injured, that will no doubt put him behind.

Tony Jones



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