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Utah Jazz notebook: Center Francisco Elson misses game because of visa issues

Published: Saturday, July 4 2015 3:41 p.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — The Jazz played Golden State on Monday night without backup big man Francisco Elson, who is dealing with work visa issues.

According to the Jazz, the Netherlands native "has traveled to Canada to renew his visa ... and is required to remain in (that) country for 48 hours as a part of the process."

Elson's old visa apparently expired when he became an unrestricted free agent last offseason. He could not start efforts to acquire another one until he got a job last September, when the Jazz signed him.

He's been working on a temporary visa ever since, and had no control over scheduling — including the need to miss a game — for an appointment to acquire a new one.

A one-paragraph Jazz statement on the matter deemed the process to be "standard procedure" and said "Elson is expected to rejoin the team for Friday's game at New Orleans."

The Jazz do not play again until Friday, when they open a four-game trip.

Elson is averaging 2.3 rebounds, 2.7 points and 11.0 minutes off the bench. He played double-digit minutes in 10 of Utah's last 14 games prior to Monday.

"He's been playing pretty well for us," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said, "and giving us help guarding some of the big guys."

Sloan voiced no complaints over Elson's absence Monday.

"That's not my deal," he said. "I coach whoever's here."

BELL STILL OUT: Starting shooting guard Raja Bell didn't play Monday, marking the third straight game he's missed due to a strained right adductor muscle.

With Bell unable to go, rookie Gordon Hayward made his third consecutive start.

Hayward was scoreless while opening in Bell's place Friday against Orlando and Saturday at Dallas.

But Sloan stuck with him anyway Monday, saying that starting again would allow the first-round draft pick from Butler University "a chance to see where he is, and how he's gonna react, and try to improve."

Hayward had one point, on a free throw, while logging 11 minutes against the Warriors.

Sloan suggested it's important to remember Hayward and second-round pick Jeremy Evans, who scored nine points off the bench Monday, still are rookies.

"That's why they need some experience," he said, "to get a chance to kind of understand. But they're trying to do the right things."

FESENKO BACK: Reserve center Kyrylo Fesenko was back in the lineup Monday. Fesenko missed Utah's three previous games due to a sprained left ankle. He played 14 minutes Monday, scoring two points and pulling down four rebounds.

e-mail: tbuckley@desnews.com

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