SALT LAKE CITY — Jazz backup center Kyrylo Fesenko put together another solid preseason performance in Utah's 108-97 win over Phoenix on Thursday, but his night will be remembered for a tumble he took in the fourth quarter.
With a little more than four minutes left in the game, Fesenko collided with rookie teammate Ryan Thompson as both players were running the floor on a fast break. Fesenko didn't see Thompson coming, and fell to the ground seconds before Sundiata Gaines made a layup to give the Jazz a 97-84 lead.
Fesenko sprained his right wrist on the play and his playing status is listed as day-to-day.
The injury did little to dampen Fesenko's spirits following the game.
"I got up and I looked at him like, 'We're on the same team,' " Fesenko jokingly said about Thompson. "I didn't even see him. He was crossing (the court) and somehow decided, 'Screw Fes.' That's it."
Fesenko said he wasn't frustrated after he had contributed eight points, five rebounds, one blocked shot and an assist.
"Not at all," he said with his right wrist wrapped with ice. "It happens. It's a professional sport. You always get injuries, so you better be ready for them. I'm just really happy because it was a hard fall. I'm really, really happy that it was nothing bad because 285 pounds falling on the wrist, it could have been, like, much worse. It means probably my joints were in shape."
The rest of Fesenko has been in good shape as well, and that's helped him have a good preseason so far.
Fesenko averaged 10.7 points and 5.7 rebounds in 22 minutes in the Jazz's previous three preseason contests. His consistent play has been attributed to being in the best shape he's ever been in, as he entered training camp 25 pounds lighter than he was at this time last year.Comment on this story
"He's much farther along than he was a year ago," said Jazz coach Jerry Sloan. "His conditioning is much better, so he has a chance. When his conditioning is not good, he gets two trips down the floor and he can't breathe. He's in much better shape than he's ever been since he's been here."
Fesenko was mostly productive in the second quarter against the Suns when he scored six points and had four rebounds in less than nine minutes. He also contributed defensively, altering shots when playing near the basket.
"He's been able to score some points and be a force on the defensive end of the floor where he takes up a lot of space," Sloan said.