Utah Jazz: Brandon Rush will play for first time in a year
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
BROOKLYN — The Utah Jazz have had a rough start to the 2013-14 season, and not just because they’ve lost all three games so far.
Coach Tyrone Corbin hasn’t had anything close to a full roster. Through three games, only 10 of the team’s 15 players have been able to play.
That will change tonight when Brandon Rush returns to the court. The shooting guard hasn't played since tearing the ACL in his left knee in the second game of the 2012-13 season just over a year ago.
"I’m really excited," Rush said ahead of the Jazz's 5:30 p.m. MDT tipoff against the Brooklyn Nets.
Rush will see action in the first half, Corbin said. Rush pointed out that he'll be limited to five-minute playing stretches, hopefully to be increased by the game.
"I’m happy to just get out there just to get some running up and down against some real opponents," Rush said. "(I'll) just try to build some confidence back in my knee. Hopefully, it goes good."
The addition is more than welcome by Corbin.
“It’s difficult. We see where we’re making progress and where we miss the guys we have out,” Corbin admitted. “The guys that are in uniform have done a great job for us. We’re shorthanded. We don’t have a lot of options in a lot of what we’re doing because of the guys that we have out. The guys are doing a good job, the ones that are in uniform.”
Rush, acquired in the offseason trade with Golden State, recently began fully participating in practice. After Tuesday's shootaround, he posted on Twitter, "Might see some action n the game tonight.”
Rush hasn’t played in more than a year, having injured his knee in the second game with the Warriors last Nov. 2. He had surgery in January, and it’s been a slow recovery progress since then.
In 2007, Rush suffered the same ACL injury to his right knee while in college.
"I kind of look back at that because I've already been through it before and I knew what it’d take to come back from an injury like this. It’s hard work," Rush said. "I put in the hard work and now it’s just time for me to get back out on the court."
Rush is expected to become a valuable member of the Jazz bench, providing an outside scoring threat and perimeter defense.
So, how is that shot?
"It’s feeling good. I don’t think you can lose the touch," Rush said. "That’s all I’ve been doing for the last nine, 10 months — working on shooting and dribbling."
Small forward Marvin Williams has also been able to do more in practice and continues to rehab from his offseason Achilles tendon surgery.
“Plus, we get Trey (Burke) back soon,” Corbin added. “We’ll be OK.”
Burke is with the team in Brooklyn and has been a faithful observer while rehabbing from the surgery he had three weeks ago to repair his fractured right index finger. He’ll be re-evaluated Nov. 11 after the team returns from this four-game Eastern trip.
Utah is also without big man Andris Biedrins (ankle) and forward Jeremy Evans (rotator cuff). Evans, who also accompanied the team, has progressed and doesn’t have as much swelling in his injured shoulder.
“He’s getting better every day,” Corbin said. “It’s still not where he has free movement without any pain.”
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