SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Jazz held practice Friday, but they didn't have a full squad of players healthy and able to fully participate.
For one thing, Jeremy Evans was not with the team. The rookie forward was given a D-League assignment with the Utah Flash.
The second-round pick, who has played sparingly this season and not at all lately for the Jazz, scored 10 points and had eight rebounds in the Flash's 106-88 win over New Mexico on Friday.
Evans will play for the Flash again today in Orem in a 7 p.m. Versus-televised game.
Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said the team wants to give the high-flying forward playing experience and said that Evans might travel with his NBA squad on its four-game road trip back East next week.
"He's been working hard in practice," Corbin said of the 6-foot-9, 196-pounder. "And unfortunately I just haven't had room to give him more time in the games and so it's an opportunity for him to get two games at home here at Orem and get some time in the floor. And we want to see him play."
That's the positive attitude Evans displayed earlier this week when asked about a possible D-League assignment.
"He was really good about it. It's just who he is," Corbin said. "The kid loves to play. He wants to work and he wants an opportunity to play. So anything that you think that's going to help him get better, he's willing to do it. He's been tremendous with that all year."
Corbin said it's possible he could leave Evans longer or have him play with the Flash again later this season depending on how many healthy bodies the 14-man-deep Jazz have.
That was a smaller number than usual Friday.
Backup guards Earl Watson (mouth) and Ronnie Price (toe) were unavailable for practice because of their injuries; rookie big man Derrick Favors (cold) practiced but wasn't at full strength due to his illness; and veteran center Mehmet Okur (back) continues to gradually increase his basketball-related activity without fully participating with the team.
Watson received six stitches in his lacerated lip during the fourth quarter of the Jazz's 103-101 loss on Thursday when he was popped in the mouth by a Denver player. Watson was not dressed to practice Friday and held a towel with ice on his mouth during the interview session. He shook his head when asked if he's able to eat, and nodded when asked if he took an elbow to the mouth.
Watson, who received stitches in his mouth earlier this season, will be a game-time decision tonight.
Price has been placed in a walking boot to help protect his sprained right big toe, which has given him problems since he injured it three weeks ago against Chicago.
An MRI taken Wednesday revealed that Price's toe is merely sprained. That news came as relief to him, but the Utah Valley product said the joint continues to cause him pain and limits his mobility after getting re-injured time and again. He is doubtful tonight.
"Every time I come back and I think I'm good, the same injury just keeps reoccurring," said Price, who missed five games last month with the toe woe. "That's the frustrating part about it. I think I'm good. I come out and I try to play a hundred percent and it pops again."5 comments on this story
Favors returned to the team Friday after being sent home from the shootaround and prior to tipoff on Thursday due to illness. Officially, he is a game-time decision tonight.
"I got enough rest, took a lot of medicine and I'm feeling a little better," Favors said. "It was very frustrating (to miss). I didn't expect to get sick. It just came out of nowhere. I'm just happy to get it over with."