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Utah Jazz notebook: Jamaal Tinsley misses game but makes final cut

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 7 2012 10:13 p.m. MST

INDIANAPOLIS — Jamaal Tinsley was not with the Utah Jazz on Tuesday.

Considering the NBA's deadline to waive players on nonguaranteed contracts, like Tinsley, was at 4 p.m. MT, some might have gotten the wrong impression.

Tinsley remained in New York to deal with a family matter of a non-emergency nature, but he is expected to rejoin the Jazz before Friday's game against Oklahoma City.

In other words — less than a week after his 13-assist night in Golden State — Tinsley made the final cut.

"He's been a tremendous pro for us," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said.

Playing time has been rare for the 33-year-old backup point guard. He's only seen 78 minutes of action all season in 10 games, and 34 minutes came in his start against Golden State after Devin Harris and Earl Watson were unable to go because of injuries.

But Tinsley has provided leadership and support in the locker room to the team, and especially the younger players.

But what about his troubled past in Indiana?

In the past.

"He's been great, man," Corbin said.

The second-year coach lauded Tinsley for coming early to practice, being ready to play when needed, keeping himself in shape and offering thoughtful insight.

"He says all the right things in the locker room," Corbin said. "When he's not playing, he's encouraging the guys to continue to push forward and get better."

Or hooting and hollering for leads to get bigger.

"He's a good quality veteran in this league," Corbin said, " and he's grown from his experiences."

Corbin smiled when talking about the second chance Tinsley has embraced after working his way back into the league following a year off in 2010-11. Tinsley isn't as athletic as he used to be, Corbin added, but he's smarter.

"He's making the most of it," Corbin said of Tinsley, who was in the D-League in early December. "He stayed ready and he will continue to stay ready when we get an opportunity to put him on the floor and do his job. Unfortunately, we haven't had as much time as I'd like to get him out there on the floor."

HAPPY HOMECOMING: Gordon Hayward didn't make SportsCenter's top play like last year, but he still gave his hometown crowd plenty to cheer about in his second pro outing in Indiana.

The former Brownsburg High and Butler star scored 11 points, totaled three rebounds and assists, and made a highlight-reel-worthy block and mid-air catch on Indiana's Danny Granger.

The Pacers' fans sporting No. 20 Jazz jerseys in his honor got the best of both worlds — a solid showing from Mr. Local Boy Did Good and a 104-99 Indiana win.

"It was great coming home and it was a lot of fun playing in front of my friends and especially my family," Hayward said. "It was great hearing some of the response from the fans that were supporting me. And even with the loss, this was a good experience."

A short one, though.

The Jazz arrived in Indianapolis from New York at about 3 a.m. and then had an 11 a.m. breakfast meeting. That only allowed a brief while for Hayward to visit family and take his girlfriend out to lunch.

MISSING IN ACTION: Jazz rookie Alec Burks didn't get in the game for the fourth time this season and for the third straight game.

Asked before this game about Burks' recent inactivity, Corbin acknowledged that it's tough for him to keep the 20-year-old on the bench. He doesn't like keeping rarely used Jeremy Evans or Tinsley there, either.

"These guys work so hard in practice," Corbin said, "and they deserve to get minutes on the floor."

Corbin just hasn't seen the right opportunity for Burks lately.

"You want to make sure that when they get in the game I'm giving them quality minutes that mean something," Corbin said. "And unfortunately, you can't play everybody all the time."

Email: jody@desnews.com

Twitter: DJJazzyJody

Blog: Jazzland.blogs.deseretnews.com

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