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Utah Jazz sign Marcus Cousin to 10-day contract

Published: Tuesday, March 8 2011 8:40 p.m. MST

NEW YORK — The injury-plagued Utah Jazz will soon have an extra body on their team.

Austin Toros center Marcus Cousin — not to be confused with Kings' standout rookie DeMarcus Cousins — is being called up from the D-League and will join the Jazz in Toronto today on a 10-day contract.

Neither the Jazz nor the Toros would confirm Cousin's impending contract when contacted Tuesday. General manager Kevin O'Connor could not be reached for comment.

According to D-League blog RidiculousUpside.com, which first reported Cousin's deal, the 6-foot-11, 250-pounder played professionally overseas in Turkey and Israel. He did that after participating with Houston's summer-league team in 2009 and before playing with the San Antonio Spurs' during the 2010 preseason.

The 24-year-old Cousin, who played college ball at Seton Hall and Houston, averaged 14.7 points and 8.6 rebounds for the Toros this season after returning to the States.

Austin's coach, Brad Jones, has big-time Utah ties. He previously coached the Utah Flash, helped scout for the Jazz and is the nephew of Hall of Fame coach Jerry Sloan.

The Jazz worked Cousin out prior to the 2009 NBA Draft — on the same day as University of Utah players Luke Nevill and Shaun Green, in fact.

With Utah's slew of injuries to big men, Cousin's presence will be especially helpful at Jazz practices. But as thin and injured as the Jazz are, it's possible the D-Leaguer could see NBA action.

Currently, Utah centers Mehmet Okur (back), Francisco Elson (back) and Kyrylo Fesenko (back) are sidelined with injuries. None of the three will play Wednesday in Toronto against the Raptors, when Utah will also be without guard Ronnie Price (toe).

Small forward Andrei Kirilenko (back) is considered doubtful, and power forward Paul Millsap (knee) will be a game-time decision.

It's unknown if Cousin will be eligible to play against Toronto.

MANLY MAN: Millsap hesitated when asked if he felt well enough to play Monday, and just said he was going to go. After a game in which it was obvious he played through pain, Millsap admitted he probably should have taken the night off.

Rest, after all, is the best medicine for the tendinitis that is bothering his left knee.

"He's a true professional. He's going to give you what he's got and sometimes he'll give you a little bit more than he has," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said Tuesday. "(Monday) night was a great indicator. He probably shouldn't have been out there for as long as I left him out there, but he was trying. You've got to give him the benefit of the doubt there. It just got to a point where he really couldn't move."

Millsap and Kirilenko started but were pulled out of Monday's game due to their injuries.

SPECIAL FAVORS: One bright spot at Madison Square Garden was the play of rookie Derrick Favors. He had a career-best 16 points and eight rebounds.

But even though he thought the 19-year-old committed a couple of silly fouls, Corbin credited Favors for his defensive effort.

"System-wise, he's getting better," Corbin said. "(He) may be a little ahead of where a young guy coming in out of college would be on this level. Instinctively, he may be a little bit ahead there."

Corbin has noticed that Favors likes to help out and try to block shots, but he is hesitant sometimes in the execution out of uncertainty.

"The thing I liked from (Monday) night is he made a couple of mistakes, and before I could say something to him, he knew it," Corbin said. "He knew he'd made a mistake so he has a chance to get better."

GOOD TEARS: Corbin was asked what he thought about Miami coach Erik Spoelstra talking about Heat players crying in the locker room after a tough loss: "If you care enough to cry about losing, then you care about the game. That's the most pleasing thing about hearing it."

e-mail: jody@desnews.com

Twitter: DJJazzyJody

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