SALT LAKE CITY — Andrei Kirilenko sat out again Friday night and still isn't sure when he'll be ready to return from the strained calf that's now kept him out of 21 of the Jazz's last 23 regular-season and postseason games.

"If only brain can play, you know, I'll be there," he said. "My brain is in good shape and ready."

But the calf, which has been strained in three different muscle spots?

"I'm feeling better and better," said Kirilenko, the Jazz's usual starting small forward. "I start moving way more."

Kirilenko, who watched Game 6 of Utah's first-round playoff series with Denver from behind the Jazz bench, suggested he could be ready to play again as soon as Sunday.

"I hope," he said.

"Endurance is getting better," Kirilenko added after Friday's morning shootaround. "I can survive way more time on the floor without getting my calf tired — so, again, I feel like it's going in the right direction, better and better."

Asked Friday how difficult it is to return from injury, Kirilenko grimaced and shrugged.

2 comments on this story

"I played nine years in the league," he said, "and you kind of get used to it.

"But you have to make sure your body's right. ... If you feel something wrong, you know you're not going to be able to help much. You're going to be thinking about that every time."

Contributing: Jody Genessy

e-mail: tbuckley@desnews.com