Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — For the third consecutive game, Gordon Hayward will again be a spectator tonight when the Utah Jazz play host to the Portland Trail Blazers at EnergySolutions Arena.
Hayward, the third-year shooting guard who averages 13.5 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game, has missed Utah's last two contests after suffering a sprained right shoulder in a victory over Indiana last Saturday.
Hayward was asked to assess his shoulder situation following Friday morning's team shootaround.
"Getting better," he said. "It's getting there, slowly but surely, just getting treatment non-stop and trying to get back. ... There's certain movements I still have problems doing, just the pain, and until those are gone then I'll be able to get back out there."
BLAZERS BACK-TO-BACK: After tonight's game, the Jazz and Trail Blazers turn right around and square off again Saturday night at Portland.
Since the Blazers are chasing the Jazz in the Western Conference standings, trailing Utah by 1 1/2 games entering tonight's game, these two matchups shape up as key midseason contests between the two playoff contenders.
"Every game's important, especially this one tonight because we're getting down to the playoffs," said Utah center Al Jefferson. "If you want to beat them and get to the playoffs, every game really counts, so this is our first opportunity against them this season and we've got to really try and take advantage of it. And I'm sure they're thinking the same way."
Teammate Marvin Williams agreed.
"They're huge, they're huge games for us," he said of the back-to-back games with Portland. "It's almost like a four-game swing if you play your cards right. So the most important thing is to take care of business tonight and then we'll figure out tomorrow tomorrow."
- 2015 Deseret News NFL Mock Draft: Wide...
- BYU offense looking to move the ball, put up...
- Dave Rose hires May as BYU's director of...
- Brad Rock: BYU's window is closing; big year...
- Little offense as main players sit out Ute...
- BYU's Jaylen Reyes provides invaluable...
- 2015 Utah high school football schedules...
- Utah Jazz: Derrick Favors continues to make...
- Brad Rock: BYU's window is closing; big... 89
- Ultimate football road trips:... 47
- Brighton wide receiver Simi Fehoko... 42
- Morning links: Duke in pursuit of Lone... 38
- Morning links: BYU close to a new... 34
- Morning links: ESPN calls Utah a dark... 34
- BYU edges Utah, 7-6, with eighth-inning... 32
- BYU's basketball roster undergoing... 29