Utah Jazz

Rudy Gobert Injures Knee, Suffers Possible MCL Sprain

The Jazz watched Rudy Gobert fall to another knee injury Friday night, Ryan McDonald of the Deseret News writes. The big man clutched his left leg in pain after tangling up with Derrick Favors and eventually limped to the team locker room ruled out for the remainder of the contest.

The scary moment comes less than two weeks after the big man made his return to the Jazz, having missed 11 contests recovering from a right knee injury.

Although the center hasn’t undergone an MRI, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets that early evaluation suggests it’s a Grade 1 MCL sprain.

Eric Woodyard of the Deseret News tweets that the injury isn’t “too serious” and that it may have just looked worse than it actually was. Woodyard said in another tweet that it certainly isn’t season-ending.

Hood Returns, Johnson May Be Next

  • The Jazz welcome back shooting guard Rodney Hood tonight after he missed the past seven games with an ankle problem, tweets Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune. Hood was averaging a career-best 17.7 points through 18 games before the injury, which team doctors are calling tendon soreness (Twitter link). Coach Quin Snyder also offered encouraging news about veteran swingman Joe Johnson, who has been sidelined with a right wrist injury. Snyder said Johnson is close to returning, although he won’t be available tonight (Twitter link). He appeared in just seven games before suffering the injury in late October.

Snyder Still Determining Best Use Of Gobert, Favors

  • Determining how best to use Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors remains an ongoing issue for Jazz head coach Quin Snyder, writes Mike Sorensen of The Deseret News. “When you play with two big guys, like any team in the league we have to try to maximize what those guys can do,” Snyder said. “And what means is the spacing’s different and the other guys have to adjust to that and get better.”

Utah Could Be Possible Landing Spot For Jabari Parker

  • If Jabari Parker‘s future with the Bucks is uncertain given his health, contract status and the emergence of Giannis Antetokounmpo, one team that could be in play to acquire him is the Jazz. Mike Sorensen of the Deseret News details Parker’s connection to the The Church of Latterday Saints which has famously strong roots in Utah. Parker, it’s worth noting, had BYU in his top five potential colleges coming out of high school.

Jazz Assign Tony Bradley To G League

  • The Jazz have re-assigned rookie center Tony Bradley to their G League affiliate, the team announced today (via Twitter). It’s the seventh G League assignment of the season already for Bradley, who has seen limited action in seven games for the Jazz, but has posted 20.0 PPG and 8.5 RPG in four games for the Salt Lake City Stars.

Should Jazz Trade Favors With Gobert Back?

Now that Rudy Gobert has returned from after missing 11 games with a right tibia contusion, the Jazz should consider trading Derrick Favors, contends Brad Rock of The Deseret News. Favors played well in Gobert’s absence, averaging more than 16 points and nine rebounds per game, and has been more effective as a center than a power forward. They were on the court together for just three minutes during Gobert’s first game back. Favors is making $12MM this year on an expiring contract and could bring back a nice asset or two for Utah on the trade market.

“Favors has been terrific, obviously, in Rudy’s absence, and we will keep looking at ways to get Favors in the lineup as a [center], because that lineup has been good to us,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “We’ve got to figure out how to continue to adjust with different lineups in the game.”

  • Injuries also provided an opportunity for free agent addition Jonas Jerebko, who moved into the Jazz starting lineup with Gobert and Joe Johnson sidelined, notes Eric Woodyard of The Deseret News. He returned to a reserve role this week, but gained confidence from his time as a starter. “I’m feeling like I’m playing the best basketball I ever played,” said Jerebko, whose $4.2MM salary for next season doesn’t become guaranteed until July 9. “I put in the work this summer to do it so I’m just excited to be with the Utah Jazz and to be able to do it.”

Jazz Recall Tony Bradley From G League

  • The Jazz have recalled rookie big man Tony Bradley from their G League squad, the team announced today (via Twitter). Bradley had a double-double (24 points, 10 rebounds) in a win for the Salt Lake City Stars on Monday.

Rudy Gobert Set To Return For Jazz

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.

Jazz Notes: Mitchell, Gobert, Favors

While Jazz fans watched Gordon Hayward exit for Boston this summer, rookie Donovan Mitchell is doing everything in his power to help them move on, Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders writes. Mitchell has not only thrived in his first season but stepped up as an immediate core piece capable of making a serious impact on games.

Over the course of the last 11 games, Mitchell has averaged 20.2 points, 4.5 assists and 4.0 rebounds. That’s been good enough to help the Jazz win seven of those contests and their last five consecutive.

Scotto writes that Michell’s emergence as a building block for the future will help the franchise turn the page from the Gordon Hayward Era.

There’s more from Utah:

  • There’s a chance that Jazz center Rudy Gobert will be back in action Monday night, Eric Woodyard of the Deseret News reports. Gobert has missed the last 11 games with a knee injury.
  • There’s no denying that the Jazz are built around center Rudy Gobert but Derrick Favors has filled in admirably for his injured teammate over the course of the past month. “I just want to basically come out and show everybody that I’m back. I’m 100 percent now,” Favors told Eric Woodyard of the Deseret News. The 26-year-old former third-overall pick (and pending free agent) was once regarded as part of Utah’s future core but he has failed to stay consistently healthy throughout his seven-year career.
  • Several members in the Jazz organization had a feeling that Gordon Hayward wouldn’t be returning to the squad via free agency last summer. As Zach Lowe of ESPN details, center Rudy Gobert took notice when Hayward uncharacteristically stopped responding to text messages prior to his final decision.
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