Utah Jazz: Trey Burke return close, won't play at New Orleans
Trey Burke's much-anticipated debut with the Utah Jazz is getting closer.
It won't happened at New Orleans, however.
Burke, the rookie point guard out of Michigan, participated in practice Tuesday morning before the Jazz embarked on a three-game road trip.
Coach Tyrone Corbin said at the team's media availability session before practice that there was a slight chance Burke would play his first NBA game against the Pelicans on Wednesday night.
"Maybe," he said. "I hope so."
The team instead announced shortly before 1 p.m. that Burke will not play as he continues to recover from a fractured right index finger, which required surgery.
Given Utah's 1-11 start and its inconsistent play at point guard, Burke's return has been eagerly awaited by Jazz fans. He was the consensus Player of the Year in college basketball last season after averaging 18.6 points and 6.7 assists for the Wolverines.
Corbin, though, is trying to downplay all the excitement.
"Trey's a young guy that's got a lot of pressure on his shoulders," he said. "But we can't put everything on him. He'll help us, but it's not just him. It will have to be everybody."
It will be like the start of training camp for Burke when he returns. He was injured in a preseason game against the Los Angeles Clippers on Oct. 12 when he accidentally slapped hands with All-Star Chris Paul.
Burke underwent surgery four days later and had been limited to conditioning, ball-handling work and shooting until Tuesday's practice.
"There will be an adjustment period when everybody comes back," Corbin said. "But we just have to keep working and not put too much pressure on one or two guys."
The Jazz selected Burke with the No. 9 overall pick in last summer's draft. They sent the rights to the 14th and 21st picks to Minnesota to move up and get him.
After Burke's injury, however, Corbin has been forced to mix-and-match at point guard. His quarterbacks include John Lucas III, Diante Garrett and Alec Burks, a natural shooting guard. The Jazz waived Jamaal Tinsley last week to make room for Garrett.
Corbin has been "disappointed" by Utah's production at point guard, although the Jazz received a huge lift from Garrett in Monday night's 98-87 loss to Golden State.
Trailing 68-40 less than three minutes into the second half, Corbin replaced Burks with Garrett. He quickly scored eight points and handed out two of his five assists during a 17-2 run as Utah fought its way back into the game.
"I was just trying to be aggressive," Garrett said. "Coach wanted me to go out and be aggressive and not think so much. ... [He] talked to me about playing with confidence and being loose out there to attack."
Garrett scored four points on 2-for-13 shooting in his previous two games. He committed four turnovers and handed out three assists.
"I thought he pushed the ball," Corbin said. "It was good to see him fight his way back a good effort for him."
Jazz at Pelicans
O At New Orleans Arena
Tipoff • 6 p.m.
TV • Root Sports
Radio • 1280 AM, 1600 AM, 97.5 FM
Records • Jazz, 1-11; Pelicans, 4-6
Season series • Jazz, 1-0
Last meeting • Jazz, 111-105 (Nov. 13)
About the Jazz • They have lost three straight. ... They are 0-6 on the road, where they've lost by an average of 15.2 points. ... They are 1-3 in their last four games in New Orleans. ... They have scored less than 99 points in 11 of 12 games.
About the Pelicans • They have played once since last Wednesday's 111-105 loss in Utah. ... In that one game, F Ryan Anderson returned from a season-long injury and scored 26 points in a 135-98 win over Philadelphia.