The Jazz keep waiting for good news about either of their injured guards, but it didn't come Tuesday.
However, Mo Williams will know more soon about his injured thumb after having two pins removed Wednesday morning in New York City. Gordon Hayward, meanwhile, says he is 95 percent recovered from a sprain in his right shoulder.
Hayward missed his ninth game against the Thunder, and will not play Wednesday in Minnesota, instead resting it through the All-Star break. The third-year guard participated in Monday's practice with an eye on a Tuesday return. However, he felt pain in his shoulder about three-quarters of the way through practice when attempting to make a pass over his head.
"It definitely pinched the shoulder a little bit," Hayward said, "and it was just like, 'This probably isn't going to work.' "
Al Jefferson did not realize until Tuesday that Hayward, who averages 13.5 points per game, had suffered any kind of setback in his effort to return.
"I just seen him hit like three shots in a row," the Jazz center said, "then the next thing I know I seen him on the sideline I just thought that they just pulled him out not to overdo it."
Jefferson added: "He looked good."
Williams, meanwhile, will make his first tangible step to a return Wednesday. The procedure to remove the pin that holds his surgically repaired ligament to the bone marks six weeks since he underwent surgery.
He tore the ligament on Dec. 22 when attempting to defend Heat guard Mario Chalmers early in a Jazz loss in Miami.
The specialist who performed his original surgery, Michelle Carlson, will perform the procedure in New York City.
When Williams may return after that, however, has no set-in-stone timeframe like the one that dictated the removal of the pin.
"He can progress as he can tolerate his pain," coach Tyrone Corbin said. "But I don't want to say if that's two days, three weeks, whatever it is. Won't know until he gets out of it."
Earl Watson calls back-to-backs "the most challenging part of a schedule."
His Jazz have spent this season proving it.
Utah is yet to win both games of a back-to-back this season, and have lost both on four occasions heading into Wednesday's game at Minnesota. In three tries, the Jazz have not won the second game of a home-away back-to-back this year.
"It's easier if you have a back-to-back at home but usually you're traveling," Randy Foye said. "It's hard to hop on a plane and get off, get ready, because sometimes, it depends on where you're going, you get into that city it's 3:30 in the morning."
Back to Mississippi
Jefferson, like many Jazz teammates, will go home for the All-Star break. Despite leading the Jazz in scoring and rebounding, the veteran center has still never been selected to an All-Star Game. So, back to his native Mississippi the big man goes.
But can Jefferson really get a break when everyone in small-town Prentiss knows he has returned for a short visit?
"I do a good job of being low-key," he said. "People don't know I'm there unless I let them know I'm there."
Or, um, unless newspapers report it. But Jefferson gave assurances not even that would give it away.
He said, "They don't have Twitter and stuff like that down there."