Two players who have yet to play in 2018 are expected to return to the court on Friday, with one playing in Utah and one in Brooklyn. According to reports, both Jazz center Rudy Gobert and Nets point guard D’Angelo Russell are set to play tonight.
Jazz head coach Quin Snyder confirmed today to reporters that Gobert will be back against the Knicks, as Eric Woodyard of The Deseret News notes (via Twitter). Gobert is expected to be on a minutes restriction for now, as he works his way back to full strength.
Gobert had been on the shelf since December 15 due to a knee injury, having missed Utah’s last 15 games. The Jazz have been using some smaller lineups in Gobert’s absence, with Derrick Favors spending more time at center. With Gobert back, the club will have some additional lineup flexibility, and may start to seriously consider possible Favors trades.
Meanwhile, in Brooklyn, Russell told reporters, including Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com (Twitter link), that he expects to suit up and get back on the court tonight for the Nets, who are hosting the Heat. Russell, the Nets’ major offseason acquisition, hasn’t played since November 11 due to a knee injury of his own.
It will be interesting to see how Russell’s return impacts Spencer Dinwiddie, who has assumed starting point guard duties and has been enjoying a breakout season with both Russell and Jeremy Lin sidelined. Dinwiddie has struggled with his shot lately, but is still posting solid overall numbers — he has averaged 14.4 PPG and 7.2 APG since Russell went down, and figures to continue playing a key role even with the former second overall pick back in the lineup.