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Roster cuts ahead for Jazz, with Royce O’Neale, Joel Bolomboy looking for last spot

Jazz notes: Rodney Hood explains his injury; Rudy Gobert struggles with his video game.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah Jazz forward, Royce O'Neale, poses for photos, during the Utah Jazz media day, at the Zions Bank Basketball Center, Monday, September 25, 2017.

For a few players on the Utah Jazz training camp roster, it could be a tough weekend.

By Monday, the Jazz must have their roster whittled down to 15, plus two players on two-way contracts. As of Friday, the team had 19 on its roster, with Eric Griffin and Nate Wolters on two-way deals. That means two players will likely be cut over the weekend.

It’s expected that the Jazz will waive Nazareth Mitrou-Long, a guard out of Iowa State who played light minutes this preseason. The Tribune has learned the last roster spot will come down to forward Joel Bolomboy, a 2016 draft pick out of Weber State, or guard Royce O’Neale, who was most recently playing overseas. Both have had bright moments this preseason, with Bolomboy averaging 8 points and 4 rebounds, and O’Neale averaging 3.2 points and 3.2 rebounds.

Coach Quin Snyder has been reticent about discussing the status of either player’s long-term future with the team, and the final decision rests with Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey. But Snyder said he’ll have a voice in the process.

“I’m fortunate that [Lindsey] consults me and wants my opinion,” he said. “We’re usually lock and step with those kinds of things.”

An injury to Dante Exum, which could keep him out this season, has seemingly assured a spot for point guard Raul Neto.

Rodney Hood healthy, ready to move on

When Rodney Hood left Tuesday’s game against the Lakers, not much was known about his reported “neck soreness” that kept him on the bench, except that he had acquired the injury Monday against the Phoenix Suns.

He filled in the blanks after practice on Friday, saying he tweaked his neck against the Suns, but played through it. Overnight, it got worse.

“It kept bothering me — I couldn’t turn my neck,” he said. “So I just went to the back and did treatment on it.”

Hood played in only four preseason games, and missed most of the contest against the Lakers. But the fourth-year guard, entering a contract year, said he got what he wanted out of it.

“I got enough, you know what I mean,” he said. “Going out there and getting a chance to play with the teammates. We’ve been doing a lot of playing together in practice, getting used to each other. I think I got enough.”

Rudy Gobert gets video game treatment

On Wednesday, a number of Jazz fans were consumed by an 8-bit video game the team released in the afternoon: “Super Rudy Block,” in which the player, as Rudy Gobert, attempts to block as many shots in a row as possible, leveling up against harder and harder opponents.

It might relieve some frustrated gamers to know that the game’s namesake hasn’t made it past Crossover Carl. Gobert said he’s played the game, and his high score is seven, compared to the community high score of 102.

“I can do better,” he said. “I think it’s fun. It’s for the fans. It was a good idea.”

Neto sits out again

In the absence of Exum, the door is open for Neto to gain more of a role — whenever he gets healthy.

Neto missed another practice on Friday, with what the Jazz have described as a hamstring issue. The Brazilian guard played in only two preseason games, averaging 6.5 points. While he remains Utah’s most polished backup at point guard, Snyder said Thursday, the team doesn’t want to rush him along ahead of the season opener.

Tony Jones contributed reporting to this story.


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