SALT LAKE CITY — When the Utah Jazz take on the Brooklyn Nets Wednesday night at EnergySolutions Arena, a full week will have passed since they last played a game. During the weeklong break, Jazz players and coaches took advantage of the time off in a variety of ways.
For Gordon Hayward, the break gave him a few days to relax in the sun in Arizona, playing tennis and hiking and hardly watching a bit of the All-Star festivities. For coach Tyrone Corbin, it was a time to get some needed things done around the house. For Trey Burke, it was mostly a working holiday as he competed in New Orleans in the Rising Stars Challenge and the Skills Challenge, where he teamed with Damian Lillard to take home the trophy.
Monday afternoon, it was back to work as the Jazz practiced at the Zions Bank Basketball Center.
“It’s good to get away from the game a little bit so we can decompress, but hopefully we can get back on track really quick here and get ourselves back on the floor and create a rhythm like we had right before the break,’’ said Corbin.
The Jazz went into the break on a three-game winning streak, and while Corbin hated to lose that momentum, he sees positives in it also.
“It is what it is,’’ he said. “We’re making some strides and getting better. But we’ve got some guys banged up a little bit and we needed some rest.’’
One of the banged-up players is forward Derrick Favors, who has had a tough time coming back from a sprained hip injury. He missed four games, came back to play in three, but left the Philadelphia game a week ago after just six minutes.
He had an MRI last week and has been getting daily treatment, according to Corbin, who added, "Hopefully he’s healthy enough to get back. We’ll just have to see.’’
Favors said he expected to play Wednesday, but would know more after a couple of days of practice.
Hayward came back from a few days in Arizona with a short haircut that makes him look like a teenager again. He said he didn’t watch the All-Star Game or most of the festivities, opting to relax in the sun while spending time with his fiancee and her family.
“I sat out by the pool and relaxed,’’ he said. “It was a well-needed rest.’’
Burke said he was able to get some relaxation in and take some naps, but he was also kept hopping much of the time he was in New Orleans.
“They still had us busy during the day with the community and the media things like that,’’ he said “But overall I had a great time. My family got to come down and I got the chance to experience it with them and the festivities were all great.
Burke called it “surreal” to be around so many of the all-time greats — both current and retired stars such as Bill Russell, George Gervin ad Darryl Dawkins.
“I was able to see how some of the older guys carry themselves off the court and see their professionalism,’’ he said. “I had a little bit of butterflies, but it was fun and that’s what it was all about — going out there and competing but at the same time enjoying yourself. I can learn a lot from this past weekend.’’
Corbin was proud of his rookie and agreed the experience would benefit him.3 comments on this story
“It was a good experience for him to win the Skills Contest and to be around the guys and get a feel for those top-notch guys to see how they work and get themselves ready,’’ he said. “I think it’s great for a young guy to be around them and talk to them about it.’’
After hosting Brooklyn Wednesday night, the Jazz play at Portland Friday night before returning to Utah to play three more home games — Saturday against Minnesota and next week against Boston and Phoenix.