SALT LAKE CITY — Derrick Favors missed yet another game with his lingering hip injury, and the Utah Jazz just aren’t sure when he’ll be back.
“We want to make sure, now that he’s out, that we get him healthy so he can come back and be with us the rest of the season, hopefully,” Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. “There’s always a chance that there’s something else happening. It’s a (sprain), and sometimes they’re funny.”
Favors has now missed all three games after the All-Star break because of the sprained hip. He’d previously missed three games with hip inflammation and another with an abductor strain since injuring himself by landing awkwardly while dunking at Detroit on Jan. 17.
The Jazz were hopeful that he’d feel good enough to go after having five days off last weekend.
“He tried to come back and practice a couple of days,” Corbin explained, “and it just didn’t get better. It hasn’t responded yet.”
The Jazz entered Saturday’s game against Minnesota with an 0-8 record without the defensive-minded big man in the lineup.
Before facing the T-Wolves, the Jazz were giving up an average of 104.5 points to opponents without Favors. Utah’s defense has held teams to 99.7 per game with Favors.
“We need him back on the floor with us,” Corbin said.
KANTER CAN: Utah’s defensive struggles without Favors is one of the reasons why Corbin pushes Enes Kanter so hard on that end. The Jazz coach said the 21-year-old center has been doing better at getting to his defensive spots, but he needs to do more to deter opponents once he's there.
“He’s got to dictate some of that,” Corbin said. “We need him to continue to get better to be the anchor with the bigs and finish off and get rebounds.”
FAMILIAR FEELING: Blazers coach Terry Stotts had some high praise for the Jazz before his team rallied to beat Utah 102-94 Friday at Moda Center.
“The one thing that I still see in the Jazz, I see the influence of Jerry Sloan and the style of play,” Stotts said. “They play hard. They play together. They execute well. They’re very fundamental. They don’t beat themselves.”
FOR PETE’S SAKE: Jazz shooting guard Gordon Hayward has had some issues shooting accurately this season, but Corbin has appreciated his versatility. Asked what Hayward is doing best this season, the coach simply responded, “Play.”
When expounding on the answer, Corbin credited the 6-8 Hayward for using his size advantage on the defensive end and for being able to make plays for himself and Jazz teammates.
Added Corbin: “He’s a huge part of any chance we have to be successful with this group of guys.”
Hayward is also trying to become just the second Jazz player to average at least 16 points, five rebounds and five assists in a season. The late, great Pete Maravich did that twice in the 1970s, including in 1976-77 when he averaged 31.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and 5.4 assists.
Hayward is averaging 16.2 points, 5.6 rebounds and 5.0 assists.