Utah Jazz: NBA footing bill for Europe trip
Williams remembers high cost last time vs. Bulls in preseason
LONDON - Their exhibition trip to London and Madrid this week, including Tuesday night's game against the Chicago Bulls, isn't costing the Jazz a dime.
The NBA, thank you very much, is footing the bill for that.
Last time the Jazz and Bulls got together for a preseason game, though, it proved more expensive than a taxi trip from Heathrow to Canary Wharf.
It was Oct. 18, 2009, at the United Center in Chicago, a Saturday night, and Jazz point guard Deron Williams sprained an ankle.
The injury was so severe Williams wound up missing 13 regular-season games, and to this day the ankle — his left — still is not quite right.
"It doesn't hurt, really," Williams said shortly after arriving in London late Sunday morning. "It just, like, aches. I don't now what arthritis feels like, but . . ."
Doctors knew right away that the inversion sprain - sustained when after attempting a 3-point shot Williams landed on the foot of then-rookie Bulls point guard Derrick Rose - was a bad one.
"They told me. They told me how bad it was," he said. "I didn't want to believe it."
Even now, Williams suggested he prefers to not ponder the play.
"I don't like to think about it," he said.
Yet the Jazz point does remember it enough to know Rose meant no harm.
"You watch it, it doesn't look like he tried to step under me on purpose," said Williams, who scored 19 when the Bulls lost at Chicago back in December. "He just closed out, and I came down on his foot."
Rose, for his part, still seems to feel bad about what happened.
So, too, does Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro.
"I want to play against him and make myself better, and it hurt when you see a good player like Deron go down like that," Rose, who expressed remorse shortly after the play occurred, said Sunday. "I contested a jump shot. He came down. It wasn't intentional or anything like that . . . I felt bad for him."
"He (Williams) is such a fantastic player, you hate to see that happen," Del Negro added. "It sets you back a little bit when that happens. There's no question."
The Jazz went 8-5 in the 13 Williams missed.
CHELSEA ROCKS: Rose joined Andrei Kirilenko and Mehmet Okur of the Jazz — all wearing their respective jerseys — in promoting the game Sunday at Stamford Bridge stadium, where the trio was introduced to a crowd of 41,732 at halftime of Chelsea's 2-0 Premier League football (a.k.a. soccer) victory over Liverpool.
Williams and Korver also attended the tough-ticket match, as did Kirilenko's wife Masha, Williams' wife Amy and Jazz communications director Jonathan Rinehart.
HISTORY LESSON: Jazz coach Jerry Sloan sat down prior to Sunday's practice at The O2 Arena here and spoke with the BBC, the world's oldest and biggest broadcasting company.
"I told them a little bit about John and Karl," Sloan said.
That — it goes without explanation in Utah — would be Stockton and Malone, retired NBA All-Stars who last played together for the Jazz in 2003.
MISC.: According to the Jazz, Tuesday's exhibition is sold out. Ticket prices ranged from 35 to 250 British pounds — or about $56 to $400 . . . While the game will be shown in the United States on NBA TV, ESPN is carrying it here in London . . . The Bulls are in London for just one game as part of NBA Europe Live 2009, but the Jazz will play a second game on Thursday night vs. Real Madrid in Spain.
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