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Runnin Utes’ Rylan Jones didn’t need another injury, but Saturday at Cal was Groundhog Day

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah Utes guard Rylan Jones (15) as the University of Utah hosts Oregon State, NCAA men's basketball in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020.

Berkeley, Calif. • Rylan Jones has had enough injury problems lately. The University of Utah freshman point guard really didn’t need any more Saturday afternoon at Cal.

On Wednesday, three days after USC’s Daniel Utomi fell on his left shin and had to be helped off late in the second half of a decisive win over the Trojans, Jones made a surprise start at Stanford. He played with a padded compression sleeve on his left shin, and while his mobility did not appear to be 100%, it was clear that it was not enough of a deterrent to keep him from playing big minutes.

Jones again played with the padded compression sleeve on Saturday, and just as it looked like everyone could move past this injury, another one came about.

Just ahead of the first media timeout at Haas Pavilion, Jones appeared to take a shot to the head as he tried to navigate traffic at the rim, while Golden Bears star sophomore Matt Bradley followed a Paris Austin miss. Jones went down, as did Mikael Jantunen and Bradley. Jantunen and Bradley got up, Jones did not.

COLORADO AT UTAH


When • Saturday, noon.

TV • Pac-12 Network

Utes athletic trainer Trevor Jameson tended to Jones around the foul line, while his father, director of basketball operations Chris Jones, made his way out to the scene as a cautious observer.

Saturday was apparently Groundhog Day in Northern California.

“It’s unfortunate, it was kind of a freakish play with three guys laying on the ground at the end of that play,” Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak said. “The simple physics of it, he’s not in the same weight class as a lot of those guys. Right now, let’s just hope he’s feeling better and can bounce back, because we’re certainly going to need him moving forward.”

Jones got to his feet and was helped through the tunnel and to the visiting locker room by Jameson. He appeared back on the Utah bench at the under-4 media timeout. During that stoppage, Jones spoke with his father. Once play resumed, he had a seat on the end of the bench, generally an indication he wouldn’t be returning to the game anytime soon, if at all.

Soon after that, Jones was handed a pair of headphones by a team manager. He slipped them on and continued watching the game. Playing armchair doctor is a dangerous endeavor, but the headphones were presumably to cut down on the crowd noise, which got loud at times. That move may indicate a concussion, but Krystkowiak balked postgame when asked if that is what Jones is dealing with.

“I’m not sure Trevor is the guy who’s going to diagnose something like that,” Krystkowiak said. “I think we’re going to be looking at some physicians and get him back with some care. We’ll do some tests here when we get back to Salt Lake.”

After the overtime loss, the Utes hustled out of Haas in an effort to get to San Francisco International Airport to catch a flight home. Looking a little shell-shocked, Jones dipped out a side door near the visiting locker room with the rest of the Utes, into a cold evening and into an uncertain remainder of this season.

Jones’ status and how Krystkowiak chooses to proceed are collectively one giant storyline this week with the team off until it hosts Colorado on Saturday afternoon at the Huntsman Center (12:30 p.m., Pac-12 Networks). Beyond that, the Utes have at least one more game, a first-round contest at the Pac-12 Tournament on March 11.

Ute women secure No. 8 seed, will open Pac-12 Tournament vs. No. 9 Washington

The Utah women closed their regular season on Sunday afternoon with a 77-54 loss at UCLA. In turn, the Utes will be the No. 8 seed in the Pac-12 Tournament, which gets going Thursday at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas with first-round games.

Utah draws No. 9 seed Washington on Thursday (3 p.m., Pac-12 Network). The winner there will face No. 1 seed and Pac-12 regular season champion Oregon on Friday afternoon in a quarterfinal.

The Utes (13-16, 6-12 Pac-12) won their lone contest this season against the Huskies, 74-65, on Feb. 7 in Seattle.

Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Tournament

At Mandalay Bay Events Center, Las Vegas

Thursday, first round

No 5 Arizona State vs. No. 12 Cal, 12:30 p.m.

No. 8 Utah vs. No. 9 Washington, 3 p.m.

No. 7 USC vs. No. 10 Colorado, 7 p.m.

No. 6 Oregon State vs. No. 11 Washington State, 9:30 p.m.

Friday, quarterfinals

Arizona State/Cal vs. No. 4. Arizona, 12:30 p.m.

Utah/Washington vs. No. 1 Oregon, 3 p.m.

USC/Colorado vs. No. 2 UCLA, 7 p.m.

Oregon State/Washington State vs. No. 3 Stanford

Saturday, semifinals

Semifinal No. 1, 7 p.m.

Semifinal No. 2, 9:30 p.m.

Sunday, championship game

6 p.m. or 9 p.m.


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