SALT LAKE CITY — While Mehmet Okur continues to rehab from surgery to repair his torn Achilles tendon, the Jazz have back-peddled away from team president Randy Rigby's 1-to-2 week timetable for the injured center's return.
"We have no timetable, OK?" general manager Kevin O'Connor said Monday. "I think Randy (Rigby) was excited about seeing Memo work out and talked to him — you know, listened to what he had to say.
"But the timetable is such that I don't think he (Okur) knows when he's coming back. I think that with three days of practice this week we'll get him out on the court and running up and down the court a little bit. ... But there is no timetable."
Rigby told KSL-TV's Tom Kirkland on the station's "SportsBeat Sunday" show, which aired Sunday night, that "I'm optimistic that within a week to two weeks, I'm hoping, that we see Memo back on the court."
It was the first time anyone with the Jazz had put a return timetable on Okur, who hasn't played since rupturing his Achilles tendon in Game 1 of Utah's first-round playoff series with the Denver Nuggets last April.
But Okur — who spent most of last week doing physical rehab work at the Peak Performance Project in Santa Barbara, Calif. — doesn't want to be tied to any sort of anticipated return date.
"I don't even know when I'm coming back," the one-time NBA All-Star said today. "I think Randy, because I'm getting closer, he got too excited, probably, (Sunday) night. And why not? ... But I don't know when."
O'Connor said Monday that he wasn't sure if Okur would travel with the Jazz for a four-game trip that opens Friday.
O'Connor also wouldn't even rule out the possibility that Okur would miss the entire season, but Okur smiled and laughed a bit when he heard that.
"Definitely I coming back this year," he said.
Okur said things went "well" in Santa Barbara, where his rehab was "more focused on my calf muscle" and "single-leg jumping."
O'Connor said the Achilles itself has been fully healed for about two months, and there has been no regression in the rehab process.
But the calf is still not back to full strength.
"Now it's a matter of getting well enough to play," O'Connor said, adding a few things have to come together before Okur is totally good to go.
"It's got to be conditioning, it's got to be a comfort level on his part and," the Jazz GM said, "it's got to be us being able to visually watch him and saying (nothing looks wrong)."
O'Connor suggested neither party feels things have progressed to that point yet, but said, "I couldn't ask for anybody that's worked harder at doing it, and is antsy to get to play."
"That's the plan — to come back as soon as I can," Okur said. "But I just want to be smart about it, at the same time."
Re-injury no longer is a concern, he indicated.
"I used to think about it a lot," Okur said, "but now I'm a lot stronger. ... Once I get more stronger I should be ready to go."
Whenever that happens is fine with Jazz coach Jerry Sloan, who isn't pushing Okur to return prematurely either.
"Whenever he comes back, that's when we play him," Sloan said.
"Our job is to worry about when he sits down on the bench to play. Up until that point, we can't give a lot of thought to it, because we've got to worry about the guys we've got."
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