Point guard Deron Williams missed his fourth straight game when the Jazz beat Portland on Wednesday, and he may not return until sometime next week.

"I just keep rehabbing, taking it day-to-day," Williams said after the Jazz's morning shootaround Wednesday. "That's all I can do."

The 2008 Olympic gold medal-winner has been out since spraining his left ankle in an Oct. 18 preseason game at Chicago.

Even if he had to, Williams said, he wouldn't have been able to play against the Trail Blazers.

"Hopefully we can get him back as soon as possible, but not too soon," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said.

Williams said he hasn't had any setbacks, but that the ankle — which is "just sore, just hurting a little bit" — just isn't progressing.

"My ankle's weak," he said.

As a result, Williams probably won't play when the Jazz host Oklahoma City on Friday — and may not be ready to return until sometime on a five-game road trip that opens Sunday at New York.

Williams, though, suggested that the 4-0 Jazz's strong, early start to the 2008-09 NBA season at least has made his prolonged absence a bit more bearable.

"You know," he said, "we've been playing great without me, and hopefully we keep that up."

COLLINS UPDATE: Jazz reserve big man Jarron Collins also was inactive and didn't play for a fourth consecutive game.

Collins returned Wednesday from Los Angeles, where a second doctor's opinion showed he has not only a bone bruise on his right elbow and a related triceps muscle strain, but also bursitis in the joint.

Collins — injured in an offseason golf-cart accident — received a cortisone shot, and said he probably won't be ready to return until after swelling in the arm subsides.

BIG FAN: Carlos Boozer had a chance to meet President-elect Barack Obama while at home in Miami during the offseason, making Tuesday's political victory that much more meaningful to the Jazz All-Star.

"I was so excited," said Boozer, who called Obama a "big" sports fan. "So many emotions went through me.

"When you look at the history of our country, with slavery ... and segregation, and a lot of things that we had to go through as a people ... to have a black president is monumental for us."

DRAFT PARTY: The NBA Development League's Jazz-affiliated Utah Flash will hold a free, open-to-the-public draft party beginning at 5 p.m. Friday in the Pinnacle Security Gym, 1,290 Sandhill Rd. in Orem.

Flash coach Brad Jones will be on hand to offer in-house commentary throughout the draft.

The Flash — who open their season Nov. 28 — select ninth in the first round of the 10-round draft, which will be conducted via conference call.

Tulsa picks first.

The draft will be telecast on NBA TV, and streamed on-line at nba.com/dleague

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The Jazz's game against Oklahoma City that night will be aired live on a big screen at the draft party.

MISC.: Jazz forward Matt Harpring (ankle rehab) also was inactive for a fourth straight game Wednesday. ... In the house: Retired Jazz star Karl Malone, who watched the first half from the third row. ... The Jazz announced a sellout of 19,911, though several seats appeared to go unused.


E-mail: tbuckley@desnews.com