Utah Jazz: Okur rejoins team but won't play tonight

Published: Monday, Nov. 17 2008 12:00 p.m. MST

Starting center Mehmet Okur rejoined the Jazz today after spending a week away from the team, but will not play in tonight's home game against Phoenix.

Okur left the team last Monday to travel to his native Turkey to be with his seriously ill father, Abdullah.

Okur flew back to Utah on Sunday, but his already-bothersome lower back tightened up on the return flight and will not allow him to go tonight.

With Okur unavailable, Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said he will start veteran reserve Jarron Collins instead of rookie Kosta Koufos because Collins is better equipped to deal with Suns center Shaquille O'Neal.

Also today, Jazz point guard Deron Williams said he will not play tonight because of his strained left ankle. Sixth-man Andrei Kirilenko, who has been out with a sprained fingertip, said he would return against the Suns.

Veteran forward Matt Harpring (ankle) will be a game-time decision, the Jazz said.


E-mail: tbuckley@desnews.com

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