Utah Jazz: Sore wrist keeps Jeremy Evans out; Paul Millsap plays despite ankle injury
OAKLAND, Calif. — Rookie Jeremy Evans was bummed out he had to miss another game in his young NBA career Friday night.
But a nagging wrist injury and doctor's orders forced him to sit.
Dealing with a completely different set of circumstances, Paul Millsap wasn't about to let his sprained right ankle keep him off the court against the Golden State Warriors.
"It's going to take a little bit more than this to stop me from playing," Millsap said at Friday morning's shootaround while icing the ankle that was tweaked during Wednesday's game.
All injuries aren't created equal, of course, so it would be unfair to compare Millsap's situation to Evans'.
But consider this yet another testament of the power forward's persistence to play through pain and of his uncommon ironman qualities.
"I love to get out there and compete," Millsap said. "A minor sprain's not going to keep me out."
Hardly anything does.
Coming into this game, Millsap had played in 326 of a possible 332 games for a remarkable 98.2 percent attendance mark in his NBA career that is now going on five years.
Millsap played all 82 games in three seasons, including his first 194 contests in the league. That streak was snapped when he sprained a knee ligament, which kept him out of three games in December 2008.
Those were, he noted at the time, the first organized games he'd ever missed.
Evans, who has only played 17 minutes this season, isn't so fortunate.
Injured while rebounding in Sunday's game at Oklahoma City, Evans' wrist hasn't responded to treatment as quickly as he'd hoped, so he was kept out of a second straight game.
The Jazz even took the precautionary measure of doing a second MRI test on his wrist Thursday to determine if the injury was more severe than originally thought. But that result confirmed the initial sprain diagnosis.
The medical staff told Evans he will remain sidelined until his wrist is 100 percent healed. His personal health-o-meter gave a best guess reading of being at 90 percent Friday morning after several days of treatment (ice and electrical stimulation).
Backup center Kyrylo Fesenko also dressed again after missing Wednesday's game due to "gastric distress."
UNREST IN OAKLAND: Downtown Oakland was the site of a large police build-up Friday, and not very far from the Jazz's team hotel. City officials had hoped to calm tension and prevent violence from erupting in the wake of a controversial court sentencing, which came in the afternoon for an ex-police officer involved in a lethal shooting.
The scenario, which escalated into what police deemed an "illegal assembly" with multiple arrests, brought back memories for old-timers in the Jazz organization of the infamous Rodney King riots.
In Southern California to play the Clippers during the 1992 playoffs, Utah had to hunker down in its Marina Del Rey hotel for four days until the rioting quelled.
"It's something you think about," Sloan said before tipoff. "But, fortunately, so far nothing's happened and I hope it stays that way."
The Jazz and Clippers eventually played in Anaheim, five days after the riots broke out.
"That was kind of a scary time for us. We had to stay in the hotel the whole time," Sloan recalled. "It was very uncomfortable. It wasn't a laughing matter. It was a serious business."
The Jazz and NBA took this ordeal seriously, too. The security representative assigned to the Jazz by the league, Marty Vuyk, accompanied the team's traveling party. Utah checked out of its downtown hotel prior to Friday's game and its chartered flight was scheduled to leave Oakland not long after the game.
HOMECOMING?: There's a good reason why they didn't show a welcome-back video for Raja Bell on his return to Oracle Arena. Sure, he was part of the Warriors' family, but his Golden State career lasted all of one game.
After being traded from Charlotte last fall, Bell ended up only playing one game for the Bay Area team. A few weeks after scoring 11 points in his Warriors' debut and grand finale, Bell underwent surgery on his left wrist.
The rehabbing Bell was eventually waived by Golden State in March.
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