MINNEAPOLIS — The bad news for the Utah Jazz is that Paul Millsap will not be available to play tonight against Kevin Love and the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Utah is, however, getting back one of its injured starters.
Small forward Andrei Kirilenko will return to the starting lineup, and C.J. Miles will resume his reserve role in this critical road game.
Rookie Jeremy Evans will start for the second game in a row, filling in for Millsap in the Jazz's power forward position.
Ronnie Price (toe), Francisco Elson (ankle/knee) and Mehmet Okur will join Millsap on the sideline in street clothes.
"We'll take what we can get," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said after today's shootaround in the gym at the team hotel. "The guys that's in uniform are expected to play and play hard."
Millsap, who's bothered by patellar tendinitis in his left knee, isn't certain whether he'll be able to play Saturday night in Chicago, either. Likewise, Carlos Boozer is sitting out the Bulls game tonight with an ankle injury, and his status is up in the air for Saturday.
"It's progressing. It's getting better, that's the good thing," said Millsap, who had ice on both knees. "Only time will tell how long it will be before I play again."
Rest, he added, is the best remedy for his ailing knee, which hampers his ability to run.
"It's hard for me to get up and down the court," Millsap said. "When something affects that, you've just got to sit down and let it heal."
Not that he likes doing that, of course. He hates missing games, in fact.
"I've got to be smart about it," he said. "We're coming down the stretch run, so the (sooner) I get this out of the way the more effective I'll be on the court."
Corbin said he's opting to start the 196-pound Evans over the bulkier Derrick Favors (6-10, 246) against the beefy and dangerous Love (6-10, 260) for a few reasons.
Reason 1, per Corbin: "Derrick has been getting fouls early, so you can save some of that and get Jeremy some minutes."
Reason 2: "(Evans) does know the offense and the system on the floor a little bit better. We've got a broader range of things that we can run with him in the beginning of the game because he has been here longer."1 comment on this story
Favors has caught on to the Jazz system quickly, but Corbin admitted the team has to "narrow it down" when the 19-year-old enters. With Evans, the Jazz can run all of their plays and allow its main offensive threats to have their complete playbook arsenal available.
Reason 3: Evans is quicker than Favors, so he can better guard Love when he sneaks out on the perimeter for 3-pointers.