Jazz notes: Sloan to miss next two games
Jazz coach Jerry Sloan will miss Utah's next two games while attending a funeral for a family member, the team announced Thursday.
Sloan will be absent for a contest tonight against San Antonio at EnergySolutions Arena. He also will not be available Saturday when the Jazz travel to Portland, Ore., to face the Trail Blazers.
Longtime Utah assistant Phil Johnson while assume head-coaching duties for the Jazz during the interim. Sloan is expected to return to action next Monday, when Utah hosts Sacramento.
Sloan has missed 16 games during his 23-year career with the Jazz. The team is 9-7 without Sloan, who coached all preseason, regular season and playoff contests for Utah in 2009-10. He last missed a game April 3, 2009 against Minnesota.
News of Sloan's impending absence was released by the team after the Jazz's practice Thursday morning. Thus, Sloan was not available for comment about the issue.
Jazz guard C.J. Miles did not practice Thursday, instead visiting a chiropractor. He strained his lower back during the second quarter of Utah's win over New Jersey on Wednesday and did not return to action. Miles, who was listed as day to day after the contest, is a game-time decision tonight versus San Antonio. There was no update about Miles' status following his chiropractor visit.
Utah center Al Jefferson (sore lower back) and forward Paul Millsap (severe head cold) also did not practice Thursday. They are probable against the Spurs.
Utah's Deron Williams, Andrei Kirilenko, Mehmet Okur and Jefferson are listed on the 2011 NBA All-Star ballot, which was announced Thursday. The 60th All-Star game will be played Feb. 20 in Los Angeles at Staples Center.
Fans can vote through Jan. 23 using a variety of methods, including at NBA arenas, on NBA.com and via text message.
While the Jazz placed four players on the ballot, a much improved Paul Millsap did not make the cut. Utah's starting power forward leads the team in average rebounds (9.5), and ranks second in points (21.5) and minutes (37.7).
However, a panel composed of league writers and broadcasters compiled the 60 Western Conference players 24 guards, 24 forwards, 12 centers listed on the ballot in mid-October, when Millsap was technically still fighting for a starting position during the preseason. Utah also had two forwards named to the ballot in Kirilenko and Jefferson. And Millsap was unlikely to have been voted as one of two starting forwards in the Western Conference.
He can still be added to the All-Star roster, though, if he is selected by coaches once fan voting concludes.