Jazz power forward Carlos Boozer — who sat out for a 12th straight game when Utah played Portland late Thursday night — has quit trying to commit.

Boozer has been out since spraining the quadriceps tendon over his left knee and bruising his kneecap in a Nov. 19 game against Milwaukee.

He earlier had said he hoped to be back either Thursday or Saturday night, when the Jazz play host to Orlando.

But when he was asked after Thursday's morning shootaround if he was willing to say he was prepared to play against the Magic, or when specifically he'd be back, Boozer indicated otherwise.

"I don't want to give you guys a day," the two-time All-Star said. "Every time I give you a day on it, it's like another day after that.

"So, we'll just have to wait and see."

Boozer did again say he's feeling much better.

"There's one thing left to heal up, and I'll be back, hopefully very soon," he said.

Asked what that "one thing" was, Boozer was not specific, instead saying, "Just for it to be strengthened. I'm trying to make it strong so I don't reinjure it."

Boozer said various drills he's done this week left him feeling less than prepared to return.

"I've been running every day and doing defensive slides and doing lateral stuff, just to test it," he said. "That's how come I know it's not ready with it.

"I'm trying to explode with it," Boozer added, suggesting he still is experiencing pain when attempting that. "It's right there. I think it will be very soon. Hopefully (Saturday). I don't know when."

Boozer also again said he doesn't feel the need to go through a practice before playing.

Jazz coach Jerry Sloan on Thursday indicated he's OK with that.

"If we don't have the opportunity, and he feels like can play, I probably (would allow that)," Sloan said. "Because he's a veteran player who I would hope knows what's going on."

Added Sloan: "I don't want to put any pressure on him ... I want them to come on their own, when they're ready to play, so they don't say, 'Well, we felt like we ought to come back and play because we're in trouble.' No. That will work itself out if we just come and play basketball when it comes time."

WILLIAMS' ANKLE: More evidence that the left ankle Jazz point guard Deron Williams sprained in the season continues to weigh on his mind:

"How I'm gonna go, 1-2 step, or hop step," Williams, who went into the game against the Trail Blazers admittedly frustrated and struggling with his shooting, said when asked Thursday what is going through his mind when he's about to shoot.

Normally, Williams added, "I don't think nothing about that. ... There's nothing in my mind."

Added Williams: "It's just mental. I just have to get through it. Keep playing."

NO BREWER SATURDAY: Starting shooting guard Ronnie Brewer played Thursday but will miss the Jazz's game Saturday due to the death of a maternal aunt.

A team spokesman said Brewer will leave to attend her funeral, then will re-join the Jazz in Boston, where they start a five-game Eastern road trip with Monday's game against the Celtics.

Brewer hasn't missed any other games this season.

HE SAID IT: Former Jazz and longtime New York Knicks point guard Mark Jackson, speaking Wednesday night about new ESPN TV colleague Magic Johnson: "Simply put, the greatest point guard that's ever played this game. And it's not even close."

Johnson, incidentally, ranks third on the NBA's all-time assists list — behind No. 2 Jackson and John Stockton, the retired Jazz point who also leads the league in career steals.

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HE SAID IT II: Ex-Jazz guard DeShawn Stevenson of Washington, talking about the Wizards waiving former Jazz point Dee Brown earlier this week: "Dee Brown was a very good dude."

HE SAID IT III: NBA commissioner David Stern, asked this week by ESPN.com's Bill Simmons to identify his favorite team owner in the league: "I actually have three favorites: (Detroit's) Bill Davidson, (Washington's) Abe Pollin and (the Jazz's) Larry Miller."


E-mail: tbuckley@desnews.com