NEW ORLEANS — Jazz coaches Tyrone Corbin and Jeff Hornacek might not be forced to don uniforms tonight when Utah takes on the New Orleans Hornets after all.
Listed as doubtful for this important game, starting power forward Paul Millsap tested his sprained right wrist with a few minutes of pregame shooting prior to the 6 p.m. contest.
Asked if he'll give it a go, Millsap simply said "Yep" while heading back to the locker room.
Millsap walked through today's shootaround — "I've still got my legs," he joked — but he didn't shoot. He took medication and received extra treatment this afternoon prior to trying to shoot for the first time since Wednesday night's win in Houston.
Earlier today, Millsap was more hopeful that he'd go than his official injury report listing.
"If it was the off-hand, there would be no question," Millsap said. "But seeing how it's the shooting hand, you don't want to get out there and your hurt team. I've just got to play it by ear and do the best I can if I get out there."
Millsap will begin the game with Devin Harris, Gordon Hayward, DeMarre Carroll and Al Jefferson.
That's big because the still-shorthanded Jazz now have five bench players.
Millsap did not practice with the team Thursday in Houston while getting his wrist evaluated by a doctor there, and a sprain was diagnosed.
Forward Jeremy Evans (sprained right ankle) will not play tonight, but he was able to ditch his walking boot. He's doubtful for Saturday's matchup with Memphis.
The Jazz only have three healthy big men available for action aside from Millsap, including Jefferson, Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter.
"They're going to be ready for some big minutes tonight maybe," Corbin said..
The Jazz still only have three wing players in Hayward, Carroll and Alec Burks, and they have three point guards: Harris, Jamaal Tinsley and newcomer Blake Ahearn, who can all play shooting guard as well.
"We're limited," Corbin said. "With Jeremy being out also, we're shorthanded. We'll get it worked out."
Worst-case scenario, Corbin said the 6-8 Hayward could guard 7-footer Jason Smith of New Orleans for a short stretch, but that would make the Jazz very small.
Evans tried to run this morning but didn't look good, Corbin said. The second-year forward rode the stationary bike instead.
Millsap can't recall exactly when his wrist was injured during Wednesday's game, but he felt an "intolerable pain" later on.
"That night the pain just flared up on me. It's a lot better, man. It's a lot better," Millsap said. "I can go to sleep now. That night I couldn't sleep at all because the pain was so bad. Now the pain is wearing off, that's good progress."
Added Millsap: "The more pain we can get out, the closer I am to getting on the floor."
Utah (31-28) has won two in a row but remains two losses behind Denver and Houston for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
New Orleans (16-42) already has one victory at home over the Jazz and played Utah to a four-point loss at EnergySolutions Arena in January. The Hornets have won three of five games.
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