SALT LAKE CITY — Some Utah Jazz fans might be envisioning a long rebuilding project ahead for their team.
But Nuggets coach George Karl doesn't see it that way.
He said prior to Wednesday's game that Utah's frontline is in good shape with Paul Millsap, Al Jefferson and Derrick Favors returning next season. He also noted it would be a big boost if Mehmet Okur comes back healthy.
"Their backcourt needs to be rebuilt a little bit," Karl said. "They have good players. They probably need one more piece to elevate them to a higher level. It doesn't need to be a special player. It could just be a good player."
Karl said he believes in Utah's front office, and that his feelings toward the Jazz are somewhat ironic at this stage in his career.
"I believe in (Jazz general manager) Kevin O'Connor, and I trust him," Karl said. "There have been so many years where I've been hoping the Utah Jazz would not be any good. I expect them to be back next year."
Asked if Utah needs one clutch star-type player — someone who can finish games a la ex-Jazzman Deron Williams — coach Tyrone Corbin said that is among "a lot of things" the team needs.
But he doesn't necessarily think the Jazz have to go searching in free-agency or pull off a trade to find the key missing piece.
"We may have that guy," he said.
Corbin didn't elaborate which guy that may be, but he believes injuries prevented the Jazz from finding that out for sure after the Williams trade.
"We just have to get 'em comfortable with each other," he said, "and get guys in the right spot to where we can take advantage of different guys' abilities in those situations."
A HURT WHATCHAMACALLIT: C.J. Miles, who missed Wednesday's finale, admitted this was a bizarre season for Utah on the injury front.
"It's crazy the injuries that we had this year. It's stuff that I've never even heard of," Miles said. "Like, when they told me what I did, I didn't even know that muscle existed. It's like the weirdest stuff."
Miles described his non-surgery-requiring injury as "a small tear" in ... well? He smiled and added, "And I can't pronounce the muscle (pause) ... in the back of my knee."
That partial tear is in — and thanks to the Jazz PR staff for spelling this out — the popliteus muscle, which, of course, attaches the knee to the fibula.
Miles has had problems with his left fibula a few times this season but played. This time, it really aggravated him after he was injured in Monday's win at New Orleans.
An MRI on Tuesday — when Miles' knee really felt sore — revealed a small tear. Miles said his recovery includes lots of rest and ice.
SALES PITCH?: The Jazz have a team-option on Miles' contract that they must decide on this offseason, but he isn't sure what will happen. He reiterated his preference for an extension to stay in Utah long-term.35 comments on this story
It remains possible, though, that Miles is done with the Jazz and will play elsewhere next season. Like, say in New Jersey with his old buddy D-Will?
"I've talked to him, but it's no recruiting," Miles said, laughing. "He hasn't sent me a letter of intent yet."