Utah Jazz: Josh Howard out against the Denver Nuggets

Published: Sunday, Jan. 15 2012 4:46 p.m. MST

DENVER — The injury bug has bitten the Utah Jazz.

Small forward Josh Howard will not play in tonight's game against the Denver Nuggets because of a strained left quadriceps.

Howard initially tweaked his quad earlier this month against Milwaukee, and didn't return after logging four minutes in that contest. But he has played in five games since that injury first happened.

"It's acting up. It's been bugging me for a while," Howard said in the Pepsi Center locker room an hour before the 6 p.m. MT tipoff. "I've been playing through pain, probably got kneed in it a couple of times during the game yesterday. It's just a part of the game."

Howard attempted to get ready to play for this Northwest Division rivalry game, but decided against it. His status for Tuesday's home game against the Los Angeles Clippers is unknown.

"I went out there and tried to warm it up today," Howard said. "It wasn't responding the way I wanted it to. ... I want to get it as good as possible."

The 6-foot-7 Howard is averaging 10.7 points and 2.9 rebounds and has been the Jazz's most reliable scorer off the bench this season.

C.J. Miles, coming off a season-best 17-point game in the win over New Jersey on Saturday, will likely see extended action tonight. Rookie Alec Burks and second-year forward Jeremy Evans could also see more playing time.

"It takes us down. It changes the rotation a little bit," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said in his pregame interview. "But, as we've said before, we want all 13 guys to be ready to go into the game. We feel good about (them). It gives opportunities for some other guys to get more minutes on the floor."

Utah has only had one other absence due to an injury this season. Center Al Jefferson missed the first home game of the season against Philadelphia with an inflamed ankle.

The Jazz (7-4) face a Nuggets squad (8-4) that has won two games in a row. Utah was walloped in its last trip to Denver, falling 117-100 in a game that wasn't that close on Dec. 28.

But the Jazz have won six of their last seven games and are playing much better since beginning the season 1-3. Of course, Howard was one of the key reasons to Utah's recent success turnaround.

Email: jody@desnews.com, Twitter: DJJazzyJody

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