Utah Jazz were shorthanded on Sunday
Okur, Kirilenko, Price were all sidelined in loss to Oklahoma City
OKLAHOMA CITY — Suffice it to say, the Jazz were a bit shorthanded Sunday night.
Utah lost to Oklahoma City with starting center Mehmet Okur, starting small forward Andrei Kirilenko and backup point guard Ronnie Price all sitting out, and C.J. Miles and Paul Millsap starting instead.
Both Kirilenko and Price are scheduled to undergo MRI exams today in Utah, leaving their status uncertain for tonight's home game vs. Washington.
Okur was hurt in Friday's loss at Milwaukee and has been experiencing back spasms, something that's kept him out of games in seasons past.
It was the seventh game he's missed this season, the others being because of knee and ankle sprains, flu-like symptoms and the birth of a child.
"Shooting it felt okay, but (not) defense, rebounding, jumping," said Okur, adding he may need a pain-killing injection today.
Kirilenko strained his left calf in Friday's third quarter. He's missed nine other games this season, all with back issues.
"It still a little sore," said Kirilenko, who was wearing a walking boot to alleviate pressure on the muscle. "I don't think it's anything bad, so I still think probably two, three days. I don't think it's a (tear); I think it's probably a pulled or strained muscle. Because I think if it's torn, you should be experiencing way more pain than I've got."
Price missed the Milwaukee game due to a bruised wrist sustained breaking a fall on a dunk in Tuesday's win at Chicago. He's missed 16 other games, 15 with a lingering toe/foot injury.
"Pain-wise, it is a little better," Price said of the wrist, which he also injured as a child.
With those three out and second-season big man Kosta Koufos assigned last week to their NBA Development League affiliate Utah Flash, the Jazz were down to nine players Sunday — including three rookies, starting shooting guard Wesley Matthews, No. 3 point Sundiata Gaines and 10-day contract signee Othyus Jeffers.
KOUFOS UPDATE: Koufos had two strong showings for the Flash over the weekend in back-to-back road games at Reno.
In a 101-87 loss Friday, he scored 20 points, had 12 rebounds and blocked a couple shots. And in Saturday's 115-109 overtime win, he scored 26, pulled down 16 rebounds and had four blocks.
Koufos was a combined 21-for-31 from the field in the two games, 9-for-14 and 12-for-17.
The Flash have nine regular-season games remaining, including tonight's at home vs. Erie, but Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said Sunday that because of the injuries, there's "a good chance" Koufos will be recalled today.
JEFFERS SIGNED: As fully expected, the Jazz on Sunday signed Jeffers to a second 10-day contract.
"Great news," he said.
Jeffers still wakes up every day pinching himself over the fact he's in the NBA.
"I'm still getting used to the one-bedroom thing instead of two people in the bedroom at a D-League hotel," he said.
Jeffers played in two games since being promoted from Iowa of the D-League, but the Robert Morris-Chicago product hasn't played in Utah's last three games, including Sunday's.
When Jeffers' second 10-day expires, the Jazz must decide if they want to guarantee his contract for the rest of the season or return him to Iowa.
But they're also giving serious consideration adding a veteran big man — perhaps ex-Jazz center Mikki Moore, if he's fully recovered from a December heel surgery — instead.
"Hopefully," Jeffers said, "they sign me for the rest of the season."
WIZARDS TONIGHT: When the Jazz return home from their four-game trip to face Washington tonight, they'll be playing on the second night of a back-to-back set.
But their opponent has it way worse.
The Wizards will be playing on one night's rest following a rare stretch with three games in three nights.
They played host to Atlanta on Thursday at home — a game rescheduled because of inclement weather — and played originally scheduled games at Detroit on Friday and vs. Orlando at home on Saturday.
And after facing the Jazz, Washington visits Denver on Tuesday — an even rarer span with five games in six nights.
Said coach Flip Saunders to the Washington Post: "The rock star tour. We're going total AAU basketball after this. Games every day."
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