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Utah Jazz: Boozer out tonight but hopes to practice Friday

Published: Thursday, Feb. 19 2009 2:31 p.m. MST

He'll miss, as expected his 43rd straight game when the Jazz play host tonight to Boston in a TNT-televised meeting at EnergySolutions Arena.

He's been out, in fact, since getting injured on Nov. 19, exactly three months ago.

But two-time All-Star power forward Carlos Boozer hopes to practice with the team Friday for the first time since he underwent arthroscopic surgery on Jan. 9 to clean out loose "particles" from his left knee.

"Hopefully I'll see if I can go through practice," Boozer said after today's morning shootaround.

Boozer did not, however, commit to exactly when he'll return. "I don't know," he said. "(Friday), if it goes really good, we'll move on from there."

Boozer said results of a Cybex test taken today to compare strength in his left hamstring and quadriceps compared to the healthy right were favorable.

"I did really well," he said. "My strength is pretty close, so I'm really excited about that.

Another positive thing.

"Every now and then," he added, "I feel like a little something here or there — but nothing to discourage me. So I keep moving forward. ... I'm right there. That's what I think. I think I'm right there."

Boozer, who has appeared in just 12 games this season, suggested he truly is eager to play again.

"I'll probably have a ton of emotions, be really excited initially," he said. "Just anxious, I think is the best word to use. I'm really anxious to get back on the court."

Jazz starting center Mehmet Okur, meanwhile, plans to play tonight after missing Tuesday's win over Memphis with flu-like symptoms.

But he was still obviously quite congested this morning.

"I'm not really 100 percent still, but I'm almost there," Okur said. "I'm just going to go out there, do my best. Hopefully I'm going to feel much better before the game."

Also today, the NBA's in-season deadline for trades passed with the Jazz making no moves.

E-MAIL: tbuckely@desnews.com

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