New Orleans • Trey Burke will make his NBA debut tonight.
The Utah Jazz rookie missed the first 12 games of the season after fracturing his right index finger during a preseason game last month. But after practicing fully with the team Tuesday for the first time since his surgery, the point guard finally will see time on the court.
"I had butterflies every game last year in college, so I know I’ll have butterflies tonight," he said Wednesday morning after the team’s shootaround at the New Orleans Arena. "But I think that’s just excitement coming along with it. It’s not about being nervous."
Veteran John Lucas III will start at point guard against the Pelicans, but coach Ty Corbin said Burke will see time off the bench.
"We’re going to bring him off, give him a couple minutes, see how he does, kind of work him back in," Corbin said. "We’ll start the process tonight."
The game, which tips off at 6 p.m. MT and will be televised on ROOT Sports, also will be the first of the season for Jeremy Evans. The forward has been dealing with a rotator cuff injury suffered in a preseason game against Portland.
For Burke, the 180 from Tuesday’s announcement that he would not play tonight came down to his response to his first 5-on-5 practice.
"No discomfort from the practice yesterday," Corbin said. "He had no soreness, no swelling. He felt better about it, and I got the OK."
Burke’s index finger is taped to his middle finger for support, and the rookie said he’s not worried about re-injuring it. Burke, the ninth overall pick in the draft, said he feels confident in his shot despite the tape.
Early on, at least, Burke said he won’t try to press.
"I don’t plan on going out there and doing too much," he said. "Just going out there and picking and choosing my spots, coming off screens, seeing what I’ve got, seeing what the defense is giving me. Basically playing off my teammates, playing off the defense."
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