Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Mehmet Okur's injury-plagued season is awhile from taking a turn for the better.
It was decided on Wednesday that Okur will miss at least the next three weeks because of his strained lower back.
That decision came after Okur visited a Salt Lake City-based back specialist, Dr. Graham Hill, who confirmed that Memo has inflammation of his chronic disc problem.
The specialist placed Okur on a back rehabilitation program, which will include lower-back rehab and cardiovascular exercise.
"Everybody that has those things happen they have to stay after it and try to stay as positive as they can and move on," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "He's never complained about work. He's always worked hard, and that's all you can do."
Okur, who has missed the past six games and 12 total in his injury-plagued season with this back injury, will be re-evaluated in three weeks.
In the meantime, the 6-foot-11 center will not play or travel with the Jazz.
The team will not give any further updates on Okur's condition until after he's been re-evaluated.
Okur missed the first 26 games of this season while rehabbing from an Achilles tendon surgery last May. He then sprained an ankle, then strained his back — something he's had problems with in the past — and has only appeared in 13 games.
"That's the tough part of this business," Sloan said. "It becomes a job once you get hurt and you're trying to come back and it gets real difficult to try to deal with on a daily basis, but what else are you going to do?"
Memo had been relatively healthy for his first eight NBA seasons, appearing in 92-plus percent of all games (94 percent with the Jazz).
The former All-Star played in all 82 games twice for Utah and had a streak of 233 games between 2004-07.
FAMILIAR FOE: When asked how his familiarity with the Jazz, former Utah guard Kyle Korver jokingly said it could very well play in his favor during Wednesday's game.
"I might have 13 steals tonight," he said before Wednesday morning's shootaround. "It might happen."
For the record, it didn't happen.
Korver did not record a steal in the Bulls' 91-86 win.
SO LONG, FAREWELL: How did Sloan react to having three former players — current Chicago Bulls Carlos Boozer, Kyle Korver and Ronnie Brewer — end up with another squad a year after playing for him in Utah?
(Hint: He didn't.)
"That's like having a reaction when (John) Stockton and (Karl) Malone left. What are you going to do about it?" Sloan said. "Our job still remains the same. We try to coach whoever's here."
NOT NOSTALGIC: Sloan was asked by a Chicago writer if he was offended that the Bulls didn't reunite and honor one of his successful teams from his Windy City playing days in the early 1970s.
"No," the Hall of Fame coach replied. "That's just a day you've got to travel."
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