The Utah Jazz were down two players at practice this morning.
Because of injuries, center Al Jefferson and Raja Bell did not participate with the team ahead of its flight to Dallas for Friday night's game against the defending champions.
Both Jefferson (inflamed right ankle) and Bell (sore back, right knee) will travel with the team and will be game-time decisions for the Jazz-Mavs game.
Jefferson missed his second game of the season Wednesday, sitting out the 111-106 double-overtime loss to Toronto with an inflamed right ankle.
Big Al will get an MRI taken on his ankle today to determine whether there is structural damage causing the pain and swelling. After his first flare-up in late December, Jefferson said he hadn't taken medicine to keep the inflammation in his ankle down allowing the old injury to bother him again.
Bell played Wednesday, but his body got banged up. As he often does, Bell kept his lower back wrapped when he wasn't in the game. He said he hopes to play Friday.
Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said part of this morning's focus will be on executing better against zone defenses. The Raptors bogged down Utah's offense — as Golden State and Dallas have previously done — by clogging the paint and forcing the Jazz to try to beat them outside. Utah, however, only shot 41 percent after a 32-point first quarter and was hindered by 4-for-18 shooting from 3-point range.
"We had great movement in the beginning of the ballgame," Corbin said. "The zone threw us off because now guys tend to think we've got to wait for the zone to shift instead of making it shift by moving. ... We just got out of whack."
Not having a floor general killed them. They need a 2nd option that can shoot as well. Hopefully Jefferson's injury doesn't prevent them from dealing him for one eventually.
The Jazz will play Dallas for the second time in eight days. Utah lost a rough game against the Mavs a week ago Thursday at EnergySolutions Arena, but the NBA champions will be without star big man Dirk Nowitzki. He is taking four games off to work himself into better playing shape.
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If they can get another team or two involved that are interested in Jefferson/Harris. I wouldn't give up a young guy or one of their 1st round picks this year but replacing Kaman's expiring contract for Jefferson would be nice.
The Raptors are not shopping Jose Calderon, but would be open to trading him in the right deal, sources say.
In a recent interview with Marca, Calderon didn't deny that he'd "like to have the opportunity to compete for something."
That doesn't mean he's poised to ask for a trade -- "I don't think so, that's not me, that's not my personality," Calderon said -- but the 30-year-old left the undeniable sense that he wouldn't oppose a move away from the rebuilding Raptors if the opportunity materializes.
Can't see them wanting Harris or Jefferson unfortunately. He'd be one of the best guys they could get for their offense. He'd need some could help D around him though.
Jazz guard Raja Bell (strained right adductor) is out Wednesday against the Los Angeles Clippers. He was initially listed as a game-time decision.
Bell planned to try and practice Tuesday, but acknowledged he was unsure about the status of his injury. He was scheduled to take a training test to gauge the progress of his rehabilitation.
Utah center Al Jefferson (inflamed right ankle) is a game-time decision against the Clippers.
Bell and Jefferson were inactive Monday during Utah's home win against Portland.
Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said Tuesday the team will consider briefly shutting down Bell and Jefferson so their injuries can properly heal. Corbin will rely on Utah's trainers and doctors to update him about his players' status. A decision hadn't been made before practice.
Utah center Al Jefferson (inflamed right ankle) said he'll play against the Los Angeles Clippers, despite officially being a game-time decision. He went through shootaround, is no longer walking with a limp and coach Tyrone Corbin said he looks much better. Jefferson wore a boot after shootaround but said it was just a precautionary measure.
"Save it all for tonight," he said.
Jefferson added he's mainly dealing with tendinitis in his ankle. As long as he ices it, rests properly and takes his medication, he's not concerned about further injury.
"I got a little practice in [Tuesday] and I felt real good. I didn't feel no [pain]," Jefferson said. "It just took a little while for it to warm up. Once it warmed up, I was moving the way I was supposed to. … It was literally getting better by the minute."
I'm guessing they'll get beat bad tonite. Clipps want revenge with Paul and Mo back.
Injury updates: Devin Harris (strained left hamstring) will be a game-time decision Saturday against the Lakers. He said after the loss to Golden State his hamstring is not where he wants it to be and he's unsure whether he'll be able to play. Harris will receive treatment Friday and re-evaluate his injury Saturday.
Earl Watson (sprained left ankle) and Raja Bell (strained right adductor) are day-to-day and neither was with the team in Oakland. Watson tweeted late Thursday he received some form of laser treatment to help quicken his recovery.
Officially, starters Raja Bell (adductor) and Devin Harris (hamstring) are game-time decisions, and key backup Earl Watson (ankle) is listed as doubtful.
But all three guards participated in shootaround and said they're hopeful they'll be able to go against the Lakers in the 7 p.m. tipoff (ROOT).
"The guys looked good this morning," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. "They're pretty energetic."
Corbin said Harris looked "the better of the three," and the usual starting point guard admitted he's "feeling pretty good" after missing Thursday's game.
"I went through a hard workout yesterday. I went through shootaround today and everything feels good," said Harris, whose hamstring was tweaked in Wednesday's loss to the Clippers. "If nothing crazy happens, I'll play tonight."
Bell hasn't played in three games, but he's also optimistic about the progress of his strained right adductor.
"I'm feeling pretty good," he said. "I had a good practice yesterday, played some 2-on-2. I'll go out there and see what it does tonight. It hasn't given me any reason to think it won't work."
As for Watson, he left the team in Oakland to receive unique laser treatment from a specialist in Los Angeles. After one treatment of the cell-regenerating laser, Watson said "significant swelling went out." He received multiple treatments before returning to Utah on Friday afternoon.
"It helped amazingly," he said.
Watson, who left the court in agonizing pain Wednesday, said he had "no pain" while going through shootaround.
"I'm going to play until they say I can't play," Watson said. "My goal is to get my mindset ready to come out and play and play the way I play and help my teammates try to get a win."