Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson, who has missed the team’s last four games due to a finger injury, was a partial participant in Thursday’s practice and participated fully in Friday’s practice (Twitter links via Eric Walden and Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune). It remains to be seen whether or not Clarkson will be active when Utah hosts the Celtics on Saturday, but it appears he’s nearing a return.
The news isn’t as promising for Collin Sexton, who hasn’t played since February 15 due to a left hamstring strain. According to Walden, Sexton is progressing, but won’t be reevaluated until next week, so he’ll miss at least a few more games.
Here’s more from around the Northwest:
- Chris Haynes said in the latest episode of the #thisleague UNCUT podcast that he believes the Trail Blazers may shut down Damian Lillard for the rest of the season if they don’t make up ground in the standings over the next five or six games (hat tip to RealGM). While that sounds like speculation, Haynes is pretty plugged-in on Lillard-related matters.
- Thunder wing Jalen Williams has climbed to second place in The Athetic’s rookie rankings and is showing legitimate star potential, according to Sam Vecenie. Williams has helped keep Oklahoma City in the playoff race by averaging 19.9 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 4.4 APG, and 2.2 SPG on .563/.467/.873 shooting in his last 15 contests (33.5 MPG).
- A spokesperson for Alex Rodriguez and Marc Lore told Josh Kosman of The New York Post this week that the duo is prepared to buy another 20% of the Timberwolves. “The money is in the bank and ready to be funded today,” the spokesperson said. There were reportedly some concerns in 2022 about A-Rod’s liquidity and some speculation that the plan for Rodriguez and Lore to assume majority control of the Wolves could be in trouble, but it remains on track. When they officially make this month’s payment, Rodriguez and Lore will control 40% of the Wolves — the plan is for them to exercise their option to increase their stake in the franchise to 80% by the end of 2023.
- Nuggets rookie Christian Braun saw his minutes reduced during a stretch of games in late February and early March, but has been back in the rotation this week. Head coach Michael Malone said it’s been hard to keep Braun off the floor, since he has a knack for making “winning play after winning play,” writes Mike Singer of The Denver Post. “He’s playing with confidence,” Malone said. “He’s running the floor, rebounding, making the most of his opportunity, not getting frustrated when he’s out of the game. We need him to continue to do that and be ready for the playoffs.”