SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Jazz have some mixed news on the hip-injury front.
The good: Shooting guard Gordon Hayward will play tonight at EnergySolutions Arena after missing the past five games with a left hip flexor.
The bad: Center Derrick Favors will miss the team’s rematch with the Minnesota Timberwolves because of a right hip abductor injury.
“I’m going to go out and play like I normally do,” Hayward said after going through a pain-free shootaround. “I’m excited to get back out there. It was tough to sit behind the bench. I’m ready to get out there and get going.”
Favors had to miss this morning’s strategy session because of tightness in his hip, an injury that happened while dunking on the first play of the game Friday against Detroit. He still played Friday and Saturday, but the discomfort increased the past couple of days.
“I kind of came down funny (on the dunk) and it’s been hurting since,” Favors said. “It’s still kind of sore. We’re going to see tonight, go out there and warm up and see how it goes tonight.”
With these developments, the Jazz will start Hayward, Trey Burke, Richard Jefferson, Marvin Williams and Enes Kanter.
Favors was hoping to help the Jazz avenge Saturday’s 98-72 blowout. Utah shot a franchise-low 28.8 percent and had a season-low scoring output in Minnesota.
“I’m a competitive person,” Favors said. “I’m always ready to play, but at the same time I’ve got to listen to my body and listen to my trainers and just know that it’s a long season.”
— The Jazz lost both games earlier this season when Favors sat out with a sore lower back. Utah went 2-3 the past week-and-a-half without Hayward.
“A hurt Gordon Hayward impacts the Utah Jazz play, not to mention a healthy one,” Williams said. “He’s been a playmaker for us all year. He’s been a scorer for us all year and he’s helped us on the defensive end as well. Having him back out there tonight hopefully will be huge for us.”
— Williams said the Jazz didn’t watch much film of Saturday’s offensive no-show.
“We’ve got to bring some more effort. I feel like our effort wasn’t there defensively of offensively, for that matter,” he said. “We just didn’t execute very well on either end of the floor and they took advantage of that.”
Added Favors: “It was very frustrating. We were missing a lot of shots that we normally make. We just was a step slower with everything. I think we’ve got to come out tonight and play with a chip on our shoulder.”
— T-Wolves power forward Kevin Love on his team losing seven straight in ESA:2 comments on this story
“The fans are great here. That’s what I was mentioning in practice yesterday — they’re right on top of you. Their fanbase is always good. They’re always talking trash. They’ve always been good, too, every time we’ve played here. It’s a very tough place to play because of that. They always play well on their home floor.”
— Love on the rematch with the Jazz: “It’s going to be a dogfight. It’s going to be a battle, especially after playing Saturday night. They’ve been sitting here waiting for us.”