Jazz center Rudy Gobert is set to make his return to the court, with the team announcing today (via Twitter) that he’ll be available to play in Monday night’s game against the Wizards. Gobert has been sidelined since November 10 with a leg injury.
Gobert, who was diagnosed with a right tibia contusion, is returning to action a little sooner than initially anticipated. On November 12, the Jazz announced that the All-Star big man would be reevaluated in four weeks — that was just over three weeks ago.
It’s fair to wonder if Gobert’s speedy recovery is at least somewhat linked to the incentives in his contract, which ESPN’s Bobby Marks recently detailed. The 25-year-old can earn up to $2MM in bonuses this year, but in order to receive some of that bonus money, he’ll have to appear in at least 67 games. That would mean missing no more than 15 contests over the course of the regular season — Gobert, who was sidelined for 11 games due to his leg injury, would have missed exactly 15 based on his original four-week timetable.
It will be interesting to see how the Jazz manage their frontcourt minutes with Gobert back in the mix. Derrick Favors, who generally starts alongside Gobert when both players are healthy, has seen more action at center lately and has thrived, averaging 16.5 PPG, 9.3 RPG, and 1.5 BPG with a .610 FG% during Gobert’s absence. That showcase could help boost Favors’ trade value if Utah decides to shop him before the deadline — the former third overall pick is in a contract year and his long-term future with the Jazz remains up in the air.