SALT LAKE CITY — Enes Kanter caught the attention of reporters before Thursday's practice when he walked from the locker room to the weight room.
It was the first time he's been seen without wearing a sling for his dislocated left shoulder since that injury happened nine days ago.
That's gotta be a sign of progression for the second-year center, right? Or, well oops.
"He didn't have his sling on?" a curious but smiling Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin asked after it was brought up in his pre-practice interview.
"He's supposed to have it on."
To Kanter's credit, he was already back in his sling and riding a stationary bike by the time Corbin was asked about it.
Corbin said there still isn't a timetable for the 20-year-old's return.
It doesn't sound like that comeback is imminent, though.
The Jazz coach said it's "premature" because there are two schools of thought when it comes to Kanter's path of rehab. One opinion is that the shoulder will heal on its own. Corbin referenced "another option" but didn't go into details.
"I just want to do the right thing by the kid. He's such a young guy and we don't want to take a chance of it being a career-long thing that he has to continue to deal with," Corbin said. "We want to make sure we take care of it right now."
Kanter's presence is missed on the court, Corbin admitted.
"He's a change-of-pace guy for us," he said.
The way Kanter is able to bang bodies and play, the Jazz can better control the flow and get into a more favorable, slower pace when he's in.
TIME OUT: Guard Jerel McNeal's 10-day contract expires today. The team will have to decide today whether to let him go — like they did their other short-term D-League prospect, Travis Leslie — or to keep him for the remainder of the season.
"He's actually been good," Corbin said of the former Marquette combo guard, who's a two-time D-League All-Star.
McNeal was made active Wednesday but didn't get any playing time.
"I've liked what I've seen with him," Kanter said. "He's been great with the guys. He's a good worker."2 comments on this story
HEAT CHECK: Jazz guard Randy Foye wasn't too concerned about his cold night after recently being red-hot from behind the 3-point line. On Wednesday, Foye went 2 for 9 from the field and 2 for 8 from 3-point land.
From that overtime loss in San Antonio to Monday's game against Portland, Foye had drained 21 of 35 (60 percent) from beyond the arc.
Foye said he just put too much oomph in his shots Wednesday.
"If you hit the back of the rim," he said, "that's a good sign."