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Utah Jazz notebook: Calf injury forces Andrei Kirilenko to sit again

Published: Thursday, Sept. 3 2015 9:34 a.m. MDT

Utah Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko is fouled by Denver Nuggets guard Joey Graham. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News) Utah Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko is fouled by Denver Nuggets guard Joey Graham. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

OAKLAND, Calif. — Starting center Mehmet Okur returned from injury Tuesday night, when the Jazz visited Golden State in their final road game of the season.

But Andrei Kirilenko did not, denting the usual starting small forward's hopes for taking the floor sometime before the NBA playoffs get under way this weekend.

Kirilenko has missed most of a month and 14 of Utah's last 16 games because of a strained left calf, and — because of difficulty encountered in recent 5-on-5 halfcourt play — he didn't sound positive about playing in tonight's 2010 NBA regular-season finale against Phoenix, either.

"When somebody cuts, you can't really react on it," he said. "You know, it's still slow.

"Right now, it's at a point where it's day-to-day — and every day is progression. When I feel that I can hold, like, at least three, four minutes on the court, running and defense, I'm gonna go.

Utah's Kyle Korver, left, and Mehmet Okur, right, defend against Boston's Marquis Daniels. (T.j. Kirkpatrick, Deseret News) Utah's Kyle Korver, left, and Mehmet Okur, right, defend against Boston's Marquis Daniels. (T.j. Kirkpatrick, Deseret News)

"Believe me, I'll try to get as much as possible, you know, workout, and make it ready," Kirilenko added. "But it's not ready yet."

Workout sessions Sunday and Monday evidently did not go as well as wanted by Kirilenko, whose hope the past several days has been to appear in at least one game before postseason play begins.

"Seeing him practice ... what he did was not really that great," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said Tuesday. "You know, he's got a ways to go, it looks to me like.

"He's back a ways from where we'd like for him to be," Sloan added. "But you can't do anything about injuries."

Okur, meanwhile, was back after missing Friday night's win at New Orleans and most of the second half of last Wednesday's loss at Houston due to tendinitis in his left Achilles'.

Andrei Kirilenko defends Shannon Brown. (Michael Brandy, Deseret News) Andrei Kirilenko defends Shannon Brown. (Michael Brandy, Deseret News)

LOBBYING: Minnesota shipped coffee beans to voters, making Corey Brewer's case for Most Improved Player honors.

Corey's brew — catchy, no?

Sacramento sent some autographed bobblehead dolls promoting guard Tyreke Evans for NBA Rookie of the Year, and one public-relations man even made a personal phone call to plead the case for his player's top-rookie candidacy.

This season, the Jazz — who for at least the past decade haven't heavily campaigned on behalf of players for individual awards — joined the act, too.

With general manager Kevin O'Connor's permission, the team's PR department is pushing point guard Deron Williams and power forward Carlos Boozer for All-NBA Team honors voted on by media members, backup power forward Paul Millsap for the league's Sixth Man Award and starting shooting guard Wesley Matthews for the All-Rookie Team picked by coaches.

Voters were sent an old-fashioned vinyl record album — Jazzman Records is the catchphrase — and an accompanying video CD trumpeting the accomplishments this season of Williams and Boozer.

"It looked cool," an appreciative Williams said. "It was a great concept."

Millsap and Matthews both got posters, with Matthews' — shot in a classroom full of third and fourth-grade students — titled "Roll Call" and declaring "There's a new kid in town ... and he's got something to prove."

Media votes are due Thursday for all awards, including not only All-NBA Team but also MVP and several others.

Not promoted by the Jazz, incidentally, was Sloan's compelling case for Coach of the Year. He's never cared about winning the league's official award and never has won it.

RECORD SETTERS: Sloan and Golden State's Don Nelson set the record when the Jazz and Warriors faced off last month in Utah, then broke it Tuesday night.

The mark: Most combined wins by opposing coaches in one game, now 2,523.

Nelson, who last week passed Lenny Wilkens for first place in all-time NBA coaching victories, went into Tuesday's game with 1,334. Sloan brought 1,189 wins, which ranks him fourth on the all-time list.

e-mail: tbuckley@desnews.com

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