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Utah Jazz Extra: Raja Bell's situation still a mystery

Published: Sunday, March 11 2012 11:17 p.m. MDT

Raja Bell's situation remains a mystery for outsiders, but a resolution will be worked on sometime Monday.

Bell was with the team Friday night in Philadelphia. Then, with almost no details provided, the Utah Jazz guard wasn't with his teammates in Chicago.

The only explanation for Bell's absence?

The Jazz called it an "internal matter."

Without giving details about the friction that happened Friday with Tyrone Corbin, Bell confirmed on Sunday that he will try to sort things out Monday in a meeting with Jazz brass, including his coach and general manager Kevin O'Connor.

The well-spoken and forthright veteran spoke with reporters in Philly after the loss to the Sixers. Bell said he was supportive of Alec Burks as the rookie played the bulk of the fourth quarter Friday while also mentioning (but not necessarily complaining about) a lack of offensive touches in the three games back from his injury.

"Look, man, I feel fine. My leg feels fine," said Bell when asked if he's still shaking off rust from his six-game absence. "I just need opportunities, that's it, bro."

It hasn't been described what happened between postgame interviews and the Jazz's chartered flight to Chicago an hour or so later that night.

Usually gregarious, Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin became edgy when reporters tried to fill in the blanks.

Multiple questions were followed mostly by vague answers and no comments by Corbin.

"He's not with us. Internal matters," Corbin said. "That's all I want to say about it."

End of subject.

Pressed for more details about anything and everything regarding the flare-up and Bell's absence, Corbin eventually responded: "I don't want to talk about it anymore."

Not surprisingly, the lack of detail led to rampant speculation over the weekend.

Jazz fans, who suffered through more than their fair share of dealing with repercussions and rumors about "internal matters" last season, were left wondering:

Is Bell being traded?

Did he get into it with Coach Corbin over limited recent playing time?

Will he be fined?

Miss more time?

Is there locker room discord?

Was this an ongoing situation or a heat-of-the-moment blowup?

Did he leave on his own or was he forced out?

Or worse yet, was it something serious with his family or personal life?

In the past, the Jazz have been guardedly private about players' lives when it leads to missing games or practices, and understandably so. That was recently the case when Jamaal Tinsley stayed in New York and didn't attend the game in Indiana. However, the team has used the phrase "personal reasons" to describe the absence in those situations.

Earl Watson summed it up best: "Whatever's going on, I just wish wish the best for him. I hope it all works itself out."

COMING ATTRACTIONS

Monday vs. Detroit, 7 p.m., ROOT

In a scheduling quirk, the suddenly revved-up Pistons begin a 10-games-in-10-cities stretch tonight in Salt Lake City.

Wednesday at Phoenix, 8:30 p.m., ROOT

Biggest question: Will Ronnie Price have as much success against his old team as the ex-Jazz trio did in Chicago?

Thursday vs. Minnesota, 7 p.m., ROOT

Ricky Rubio is out, but, despite his diminutive nature, J.J. Barea showed Jazz why they shouldn't overlook him or T-Wolves.

Saturday vs. Golden State, 7 p.m., ROOT

Utah has a tendency to let opposing quick guards have their way, so Steph Curry and Monta Ellis might be licking their chops.

Sunday at Los Angeles Lakers, 7:30 p.m., ROOT

Do you think that masked man in L.A. remembers the Jazz have a one-game winning streak against his team?

WHO'S HOT/NOT

Al Jefferson

Cooled off over the weekend, but back-to-back games as team leader in points, rebounds and assists was huge.

Raja Bell

Only scored eight points in first three games back from his groin injury, and then was absent in Chicago.

THE BIG STAT

0-3

The Jazz didn't hit a 3-pointer in Saturday's blowout loss to the Bulls, marking the first time since Feb. 25, 2011 at Indiana (0-for-6) that the team went scoreless from beyond the arc. The Sixers were the last opponent to not hit a 3-pointer against the Jazz. They went 0-for-8 vs. Utah five years ago (March 16, 2007).

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