SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Jazz still don't have a timetable for Mehmet Okur's predicted return to action.
But after Wednesday's 119-104 win over Minnesota, they announced a time frame in which the injury-plagued center won't come back.
"We're going to shut Mehmet Okur down for the rest of the year," Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor said. "We've tried everything. He's tried everything. He's disappointed and discouraged that he couldn't be back because he wants to help the team."
During his impromptu postgame press conference, O'Connor revealed that Okur's difficulties with his strained lower back have caused his surgically repaired left Achilles tendon to become sore and lose strength because of an inability to run.
As such, the team's physician, Dr. Lyle Mason, and back rehabilitation specialist, Dr. Graham Hill, have determined it best for Okur to sit out for at least the next month without making an effort to return to action.
Getting his Achilles and back all the way healed up again is their top priority.
"It's been a catch-22 all the way around with it," O'Connor said. "We're at the point now where we're going to go back to treating it as an injury and rehab it."
O'Connor said that Okur is expected to be back to full health by the beginning of the 2011-12 season, but he added that the 6-foot-11 center has not been ruled out of possible postseason play should the Jazz make the playoffs next month.
"It's just not working right now," O'Connor said. "He needs time down to rehab it."
After an eight-month Achilles rehab — necessary after he ruptured the tendon in Game 1 of the playoffs last April — Okur returned to play on Dec. 17.
But his comeback was short-lived as he sprained his right ankle after two games. That kept him out another two games, before he restrained his lower back and sat for six straight.
Nine games into his return from that back injury, it seized up on him again and Okur has been inactive since Jan. 28.
In all, Okur only played 13 times this year after a relatively healthy first eight seasons in which he appeared in 92 percent of his games.
Okur was not made available for comment about this latest decision.
When asked, O'Connor said the Jazz and Okur didn't rush him back into action prematurely following previous injuries this season.
"No," O'Connor said. "Each step we took we made sure that it wasn't painful the next day... and it just got to the point where he can't get it done right now — physically he's out."27 comments on this story
Okur was discouraged after shootaround in Minnesota last Friday when he said his back tightened up on him again, forcing him to back off of his rehab.
O'Connor said the Jazz will wait to announce whether or not — in light of Okur's injury situation — the team will sign rookie center Marcus Cousin to another 10-day contract. That decision must be made by the end of this week.