Of the many injuries the Utah Jazz have suffered this year, Raul Neto has already taken on more than his fair share.
But the third-year point guard will be sidelined again, the Jazz announced Monday, after an MRI revealed a fracture in his left wrist following Utah’s win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday afternoon. He’ll be re-evaluated in two weeks.
Neto had a crucial stretch in the first half during which he scored six straight points against the Pelicans, the last of which was a layup that he finished while falling hard on his left hand. The Jazz did not specify on which play Neto was injured.
The 6-foot-1 point guard has been effective off the bench this season — when he’s been healthy. He’s averaged 4.6 points and 1.8 assists in just over 12 minutes per game, but he’s only managed to play 39 of Utah’s 67 games this season. He’s had sprains and hamstring issues since the beginning of the season, and missed 15 straight games during December and January with a concussion and leg contusion suffered on the same play.
Neto’s absence leaves the Jazz short of guards: It likely places additional burden on Ricky Rubio while adding point guard responsibilities for Donovan Mitchell. It could also open up minutes for Alec Burks, who has been squeezed out of the rotation lately.
But Neto’s injury also opens the door for the possible return of Dante Exum. The fourth-year guard is still on the mend from a preseason shoulder injury, but The Salt Lake Tribune has learned that, barring a setback, Exum is expected to return to action this week.
Jazz coach Quin Snyder said Exum recently participated in contact two-on-two and three-on-three play. Exum’s comeback would bolster the Jazz’s back court and would give the former lottery pick a chance to start delivering on his considerable potential.