Utah Jazz notebook: Brandon Rush's comeback delayed for more practice
Matt Gade, Deseret News
TORONTO — Brandon Rush’s comeback has been put on hold.
More precisely, it’s being put on the practice court.
The Jazz shooting guard returned for the first time in a year earlier in Utah’s winless four-game road streak, playing 10 scoreless minutes in Brooklyn.
Rush, traded to Utah this offseason from Golden State, didn’t take a shot and committed two turnovers in a rough outing. He hadn’t played in an NBA game since the ACL in his left knee was torn during the second contest of the 2012 season, almost exactly a year earlier.
Though Rush’s knee responded well to the action, the sixth-year player didn’t play in Boston, Chicago or Toronto. Utah, which dropped its seventh straight game with Saturday's 115-91 loss to the Raptors, certainly could use the outside scoring and defensive presence he provides on the perimeter.
“He just didn’t feel comfortable (Friday) night and (Saturday) the same thing,” Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. “So we’ll look at him and give him another day here and just revisit it when we get home (Sunday).”
Before Saturday’s game, the 28-year-old Rush reconfirmed that his surgically repaired knee is doing fine. That isn’t what is keeping him out for now.
“I’m doing great. No pain. No discomfort. No anything,” said Rush, whose surgery took place in January. “The biggest thing is just getting some practice time. That’s what we decided on.”
The problem, he added, is that he wasn’t quite ready to return to action with a new system after participating in a limited amount of scrimmages.
“I didn’t go to training camp. I hardly know any plays. It’s my first time playing five-on-five in a year,” Rush said. “I think it will be better for me just to get some more practice time before going out on the court again.”
And he’s fine with that scenario.
“I feel great about it. I feel that’s the best situation,” Rush said. “I think it’s going to come the more I play and the more I do stuff in practice.”
SIXTH MAN: Shooting guard Alec Burks has been the team's most consistent player off the bench this season, but he came in as the team's first backup point guard ahead of John Lucas III instead of in his usual position Saturday.
Corbin wanted to use Burks' 6-foot-6 size against the smaller Kyle Lowry, the Raptors' 6-foot starter, in hopes of infusing some offensive punch into Utah's struggling offense.
Burks later played alongside Gordon Hayward, with Marvin Williams, Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors.
"We’ll juggle and move whatever we can. We’re limited. I thought even about starting him," Corbin said. "But Alec’s been leading us off the bench in scoring, so if we put him in the starting lineup we’ll struggle there (reserve offense) some."
FREAKY FRIDAY: As bad as the Jazz’s losses have been, it will be an even longer season if the NBA takes points away like what happened Friday in Chicago.
Minutes after Enes Kanter hit two free throws, the referees erased the points because Derrick Favors was the one who had been fouled and was supposed to be at the charity stripe.
“It’s just one of those freaky things that happens,” Corbin said, “and it usually happens at the wrong time.”
Almost surprisingly considering the offensive ineptitude of this night — they shot 29 percent in the 97-73 loss to the Bulls — Favors sank both freebies following a timeout and an explanation by the P.A. announcer.
“It seems like when you’re in a funk things like that continue to happen to you,” Corbin said. “I thought Derrick was very poised to step up and make the two free throws to get us the two points back, which we needed. We need all the points we can get."
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