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Utah Jazz: Injury-decimated Jazz 'need bodies'

Published: Tuesday, March 15 2011 9:56 p.m. MDT

Jazz backup center Francisco Elson may play tonight for the first time in weeks.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

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SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Jazz training staff might be putting in for some serious overtime — or at least be deserving of a bonus for extra hours.

Seven players are on the current injury report, and their availability for tonight's game against the Minnesota Timberwolves mostly remains up in the air.

"I'm concerned about it," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said of the team's injury situation. "We need bodies and we need guys."

The good news is that eight players are healthy — or at least have nicks and dings that aren't quite injury-report worthy.

It could also be considered a positive sign that Mehmet Okur (strained lower back) is the only player who has been ruled out of participating in tonight's home game (positive for the team, not Memo, mind you).

That means six Jazz players are game-time decisions tonight when Utah tries to rectify last week's "embarrassing" 122-101 thumping at the Target Center.

Devin Harris (strained right hamstring), Gordon Hayward (sprained left forefoot) and Ronnie Price (sprained right big toe) each went through Tuesday's practice and could play.

Francisco Elson participated in part of Tuesday's workout and might also play for the first time in weeks.

Paul Millsap (left patellar tendinitis) Raja Bell (sprained right fifth toe) both sat out of practice but have not been ruled out of action.

"We've got a load of it now," Corbin said.

Hayward's quick return was a relief, considering it was feared that he might have suffered a stress fracture Saturday in Chicago. He said his foot started hurting after he followed Kyle Korver around the court on a particular play, and it really bothered him Sunday.

X-rays and an additional bone scan came back negative, meaning his foot bone is not broken.

OFFENSIVE STRUGGLE: The Timberwolves trounced the Jazz on Friday in part because of their defensive strategy against former Minnesota player Al Jefferson. While being hounded by center Darko Milicic and getting double-team treatment, Jefferson was limited to 4-for-13 shooting.

The nine-point effort snapped a 10-game double-digit scoring streak for Big Al, who last had single digits in a four-point game at Phoenix prior to the All-Star break exactly a month earlier (Feb. 11).

Corbin said the team was to blame for offensive struggles because players didn't cut, they were reluctant to shoot and were "just standing and watching" at times.

"We got stagnant. Our offense just kind of stopped," Corbin said. "So we've got to do a better job of misdirecting the plays, getting the ball where we want it."

QUICK PAYBACK?: The Jazz are looking forward to getting a chance to avenge their 21-point loss to the 17-win Timberwolves so quickly — and on their court this time.

"Anytime somebody beats you, you've got to feel like they took something away from you and you want to redeem yourself," Corbin said. "This is an opportunity. Minnesota gave us a pretty good one over in their place a few days ago, and we have an opportunity to redeem ourselves against them."

e-mail: jody@desnews.com

Twitter: DJJazzyJody

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