For an audience watching on national TV, seeing Dante Exum hop on one leg to the locker room was alarming.
For a Jazz fan base which has seen the 22-year-old deal with far more than his share of injuries, it was crushing.
Exum left midway through third quarter of Game 4, limping and hopping on his right foot even as he took a corner 3-pointer. He managed to get into the tunnel, where cameras showed him falling to the ground as training staff crowded around him.
The Jazz’s initial diagnosis was “hamstring soreness,” and Exum did not return.
It was an unfortunate ending to one of Exum’s best playoff games of the season: The Australian point guard had nine points on 4-of-6 shooting in 10 minutes. He was limited before the injury only by foul trouble, picking up three quick fouls guarding James Harden (some of them questionable upon replay).
The hamstring injury is the latest in a string of unfortunate injuries that have plagued Exum’s four-year career: He missed most of the season with a shoulder injury, only returning in March. He also missed the entire 2015-16 season with a knee injury.
Rubio misses a start
For another game, the Jazz had to suit up without point guard Ricky Rubio.
The Jazz announced four hours prior to Game 4 that Rubio, who missed the three previous games with a hamstring injury, would not be available.
The 27-year-old point guard was averaging 14 points, 7.3 rebounds and 7 assists in the postseason before exiting early in Game 6 against the Oklahoma City Thunder. An initial medical evaluation indicated that Rubio would miss at least a week — even though he has been doing running drills and shooting routines in the public eye this weekend, the initial diagnosis has held up.
Jazz coach Quin Snyder said Rubio had pushed himself to be able to play by Sunday, but it was evident that morning that he wouldn’t be able to.
“I think it’s hard for him right now,” Snyder said. “You know how bad he wants to play, which is why he went through what he did this morning to see if he could be able to contribute, even if it was in a more limited role. But he’s just not there.”
Vivint Smart Home Arena played host to former NBA commissioner David Stern for Game 4 among other guests. … The Jazz gave away gold shirts for Game 4, the second time they’ve had a gold shirt giveaway in the postseason.