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Utah Jazz: Sling or no sling, Kanter status remains uncertain

Published April 4, 2013 1:10 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Jazz center Enes Kanter emerged from the locker room at the team's practice facility Thursday morning, walked across the gym floor and went into the weight room.

He was not wearing the sling that has been supporting his dislocated right shoulder since he suffered the injury last week.

Reporters noticed and, when coach Tyrone Corbin met with them, he was asked about Kanter's status.

"He didn't have his sling on?" Corbin asked. "… He's supposed to have it on."

As it turned out, Kanter put the sling on once he reached the weight room, where he did treadmill and conditioning work while his teammates practiced.

According to Corbin, Kanter continues to be sidelined "indefinitely" after being injured in second quarter of the Jazz's 103-88 win over Phoenix on March 27.

"As far as I know," Corbin said, "they're still evaluating him and still reviewing what's the best option for him."

Asked if Kanter will miss the rest of the season, Corbin said, "It's a little premature. I don't know. They say it should heal. …

"I just want to do the right thing by the kid. He's such a young guy. We want to make sure it doesn't become a career-long thing he has to deal with."

McNeal's future uncertain

The Jazz signed point guard Jerel McNeal out of the D-League on March 27, meaning his 10-day contract expires Saturday.

Will the team re-sign him?

Corbin would not say, although he praised McNeal's work ethic and how he has fit in with his new teammates.

"He's actually been good," Corbin said. "We haven't had time to get him on the floor and we haven't had much practice time with the whole group. But I like what I've seen with him."

McNeal is the leading scorer in Marquette history. In 44 games with the Bakersfield Jam this season, he averaged 18.1 points and 5.5 assists.

Hayward proves value

Gordon Hayward's value to the Jazz was illustrated in Wednesday night's 113-96 loss to Denver.

Hayward scored nine points — including five straight — before he was called for his third foul with 6:48 left in the first half.

Denver owned a 38-37 lead at the time.

Hayward went to the bench and, by the time be scored again with 2:53 left in the third quarter, the Nuggets owned a 74-61 lead.

Hayward finished playing only 30 minutes — about 10 less than he averaged during Utah's five-game winning streak that was snapped. He finished with a team-high 18 points.

"Gordon is important for us and we do need him on the floor," Corbin said. "He's been playing a lot more minutes of late and he's been creating plays — for his teammates and for himself."

luhm@sltrib.com

Twitter: @sluhm