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Raja Bell’s standing with the Jazz has become only more confusing in recent days.
The veteran shooting guard didn’t play Friday against Denver and was a late scratch from Utah’s active roster Thursday during a road win at Sacramento.
Bell missed nine of 16 games from Feb. 20 to March 20 due to a strained left adductor. He said prior to the Kings game he planned to return to action and expected to be active.
"I put in some really good work the last few days just to try to get back," said Bell, prior to tipoff against the Nuggets. "I asked if I was suiting up before the game — I thought I was."
Asked if he’s healthy enough to take the court, Bell said he feels like he is and has been.
"I don’t really know. It’s the strangest thing. It really is," said Bell, who had started all 33 games he’d played this season.
He added: "You’ll have to ask [the Jazz] what’s up with that."
Utah general manager Kevin O’Connor said he didn’t have any news about Bell’s situation.
The Jazz are waiting to receive results of a second opinion Bell received about his left knee. The 35-year-old guard underwent an MRI exam March 19 that addressed swelling. The MRI showed mild changes in the knee structure consistent with someone of Bell’s NBA experience level. However, the second opinion could reveal more damage.
O’Connor said part of the reason for a delay about Bell’s status is the fact Utah played four games in six nights.
Jazz forward Josh Howard recently underwent surgery on his left knee, O’Connor said.
While Utah initially ruled Howard out for the rest of the 2011-12 season, he hopes to return before the year is complete. The Salt Lake Tribune reported Wednesday that Howard was upbeat after receiving a pre-surgery second opinion and could soon begin his recovery process.
O’Connor said there’s no official timetable for Howard’s return, though, and the Jazz don’t want to rush him back.
"We just don’t know. It’ll probably be two to three weeks for an update," O’Connor said. "But the problem is, I don’t want to say it’s this long and it’s not, and then you go, ‘Oh [no].’ "
Ex-Utes guard Andre Miller played through right shoulder pain for Denver on Friday, continuing to show off his ironman skills. The 13-year vet is averaging 9.9 points and 6.5 assists in 47 games.
"He’s the best. I don’t think there’s any question that, mentally, we would not be where we are without Andre Miller," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "His leadership, his veteran-ism. To do what he does on the basketball court ... he has [so] much impact on games."
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