SALT LAKE CITY — Kevin O'Connor's heart went out to Earl Watson after the results of the feisty Jazz guard's MRI were revealed Monday afternoon.
The Jazz aren't coming out and saying it, but Watson's season is all but over.
The inspirational backbone of the team's second unit needs to undergo surgery to repair a torn medial meniscus in his right knee.
A timeframe for Watson's return will not be provided until after his yet-to-be-scheduled procedure, which will be the first surgery of the 32-year-old's life.
"I feel so badly for him, because I know how much he wants to play," O'Connor said of Watson. "And I know how badly it hurts him to sit in that locker room and not be able to contribute."
The MRI results for C.J. Miles weren't great, but they weren't as gloomy.
Miles will be sidelined for at least a week with a moderate strain of his left calf. He won't travel with the team today for the upcoming three-game road trip and will be re-evaluated next week.
Both Watson and Miles were injured in the first half of the Jazz's 114-104 loss at San Antonio on Sunday.
"They've been great for us all year," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. "We're really going to miss them. It's just unfortunate they got hurt. ... We'll support them fully. Hopefully, they'll recover quickly, and we'll miss them while they're out."
Losing those two players leaves the Jazz shorthanded in the guard and wing positions. Utah was already missing Raja Bell and Josh Howard, who are both dealing with knee issues.
Bell can't resume running, shooting or jumping for another week or so, and Howard is a week away from being able to do basketball-related activity.
The Jazz signed D-League combo guard Blake Ahearn of the Reno Bighorns to fill the guard void.
Making matters worse, forward Jeremy Evans went down with a sprained right ankle in Monday's 91-84 win over San Antonio.
"It's just a tough time to continue to have injuries," Corbin admitted. However, he added, "It's a great opportunity for guys to get some minutes on the floor."
GOAL DATE: Howard was given a four-week timetable after undergoing surgery to clean up his left knee, which had a chip in the lateral femoral cartilage.
That rehab and recuperating period ends next Wednesday, and he's holding out hope that his body will respond well once he gets to do impact exercises again.
His goal: Play the final two games of the regular season and, hopefully, contribute in the playoffs.
The way the Jazz are getting injured lately, they sure could use as much help as they can get.
"After we see how my knee responds to that, which I think it will do pretty well, I've just got to get out there and do it," Howard said. "Hopefully, I won't be too rusty."
Howard has ended the previous two seasons sidelined due to knee issues. He's getting "antsy" to get back before the final buzzer of this season.
"My ultimate goal is to finish the year out in a uniform instead of a suit," Howard said. "Going into the summer knowing that I was in a uniform, I think that's big for me."
SWAT LAKE CITY: The Jazz defense can take direct credit for 13 of the Spurs' 52 missed shots. Utah, fourth in the NBA in rejections, had a baker's dozen worth of blocks.
"We have to protect this house," Jazz shooting guard Gordon Hayward said. "No easy buckets."
Six Jazz players had blocks, including four with multiple swats. Jefferson had a team-high four, Evans totaled three in under 18 minutes, while Hayward and Paul Millsap sent back two apiece.1 comment on this story