We need him on the court. Dante needs to play well and play hard, really that’s all it is. I’m tired of talking about his knee. I know he has tendinitis and I know he’s got to fight through that, which he has and we gave him a little time off, which hopefully will help. —Quin Snyder
TORONTO — The Utah Jazz have been getting burned by opponents’ point guards quite a bit lately, partly because they’ve been forced to play their third- and fourth-string point guards due to injuries to George Hill and Dante Exum.
That problem will be alleviated a bit for Thursday night’s game with news that Exum will be able to play after sitting out the past six games because of tendinitis in his left knee. The bad news is that Hill will miss his third straight game because of concussion symptoms and a lacerated lip.
“I’m feeling good,” Exum said after Jazz shootaround Thursday morning. “I was battling it for a bit while I was playing, but it was time I sat on the sidelines and got it right.”
Having Exum back should help defensively against the Raptors and point guard Kyle Lowry, who went off for 36 points on 15-of-20 shooting in Toronto’s 104-98 victory over the Jazz on Dec. 23.
Exum said he hurt his knee in a mid-December game and often felt a sharp pain when he’d run or jump and “it was limiting me playing to my full potential, so that’s why I had to make that decision.”
He tried to play through the pain, but after scoring six points with no assists and three turnovers against Golden State on Dec. 20 he decided he needed to shut it down for awhile.
The last time the Jazz played the Raptors they had no answer for Lowry, so Exum hopes to make a difference Thursday night at the Air Canada Centre. With everyone except Hill available to play, the Jazz will be as healthy as they’ve been all season.
“We need him on the court,” said coach Quin Snyder. “Dante needs to play well and play hard, really that’s all it is. I’m tired of talking about his knee. I know he has tendinitis and I know he’s got to fight through that, which he has and we gave him a little time off, which hopefully will help.”
JAZZ NOTES: The 23-11 Raptors are coming off a six-game road trip in which they went 3-3, finishing with a 110-82 loss at San Antonio Tuesday night ... Former Utah standout Delon Wright hasn’t played all season because of off-season shoulder surgery, but is back on the 15-man roster, although he’s been inactive the last five games ... Former Ute Jakob Poeltl had nine rebounds and four points against the Spurs ... The Jazz will head to Minnesota after the game and play the Timberwolves Saturday, before finishing the road trip in Memphis on Sunday.