Utah Jazz: Bell out vs. Clippers; Jefferson game-day decision
SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Jazz played — won — without two starters Monday night against the Portland Trail Blazers.
But Raja Bell (strained right adductor) and Al Jefferson (inflamed right ankle) both returned to the practice facility today for treatment and to test their injuries on the court as much as possible.
"We'll see how much they can do in practice," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said.
The morning workout resulted in Bell being officially declared unavailable for the Jazz's rematch with the Clippers on Wednesday night.
Jefferson will be a game-time decision.
With the condensed schedule — and a brutal, road-heavy two months coming up — Corbin said it's tempting to have the key players sit out a bit longer to make sure they are fully healthy before returning.
"We'll talk to the doctors and the trainers and make sure we make the right decision there and also how the guys feel," Corbin said. "Scheduling and the importance of getting healthy may weigh more on that than taking a chance now of getting hurt further, but I'll listen to what they say and we'll go forward."
The Jazz spent extra time in practice today on free throws, after missing 12 (of 36) in Monday's comeback win over Portland. Utah is 18th in the NBA at the charity stripe (73.8 percent).
Overall, the 93-89 win gave Utah a boost, improving the Jazz to 12-7 and keeping them in the thick of the playoff race. With Chris Paul and Mo Williams available for this Jazz-Clippers game — and missing 1-2 starters — Utah can use all of the momentum and advantage it can get for the ESPN-televised contest.
"It builds our confidence hugely," Corbin said of Monday's gutsy win. "It helps us understand that if we hang in there and we continue to work and we stay together and we take the intensity up on the defensive end of the floor and we pay more attention to detail on the offensive end and get the ball in the right guys' hands and make the right cuts, we'll have a chance."
The Pacific Division-leading Clippers (12-6) have won three straight, including a 12-point win over NBA-leading Oklahoma City on Monday. The Lob City crew has also won five of seven since suffering a 108-79 blowout loss at EnergySolutions Arena two weeks ago.
"They didn't have success here last time," Corbin said. "We beat them pretty good, so they're going to want to repay us or step up and show us that they're a better team than they did last time, so we have to be ready to play against them."
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