Utah Jazz notebook: Painful hip injury forces Paul Millsap to miss rare game

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 5 2011 9:00 p.m. MST

Jazz's Paul Millsap missed a rare game against the Hawks because of a hip injury. (Mike Terry, Deseret News) Jazz's Paul Millsap missed a rare game against the Hawks because of a hip injury. (Mike Terry, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — In recent seasons, it hasn't been unusual for the Utah Jazz's starting power forward to miss games.

It has been, however, quite rare for Paul Millsap to be the one out with an injury.

But pain from a bruised right hip, injured while taking a charge in Monday's game, prevented Millsap from suiting up for only the seventh time in his NBA career and the first time in two seasons.

"It's very sore, really sore," Millsap said. "(It's) hard to put weight on it."

Millsap warmed up during the morning shootaround and held out hope he'd feel well enough to play against Atlanta, but the 6-foot-8 big man was ruled out an hour before tipoff. He had played in 357 of 363 games, including three 82-game seasons.

"He's not looking too good right now," Jazz guard Deron Williams said Wednesday morning. "He's one of those guys who doesn't like to sit out. You always expect him to be out there."

But the 25-year-old with an unusually high pain threshold — and an even bigger disdain for missing games — admitted this hip mishap was more painful than anything he'd suffered this year.

"Normally," Millsap said, "I try to fight through things like this."

Added Millsap: "It is affecting all of (my movement). I doubt if I can get up and down the court like I want to. I can't really jump off of it. My whole right side just really don't work right now. ... You don't want to get out there and hurt your team."

Big man Francisco Elson started in Millsap's place.

The Jazz also played without Mehmet Okur (strained lower back), who will not travel to Memphis or Houston for games this weekend. Memo said his back is getting "better" but wasn't good enough to go yet after missing three previous games.

STAYING PUT: Even though they're currently down two big men — with Okur (back) and Millsap (hip) out — the Jazz have no immediate plans to sign a free agent to a 10-day contract.

That short-deal option became available to NBA teams Wednesday.

"I think we'll stay as is," Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor said.

Despite the current injury situation, O'Connor said bringing a new player in right now wouldn't make much sense.

"The injuries that we have are not significant," the Jazz GM said, "so we're trying to get everyone back on the floor — that's our main goal."

Another reason it'd be tough to bring a new guy in right now is because Utah leaves today for a back-to-back road trip.

One ex-Utah player was signed to a 10-day contract Wednesday. The Los Angeles Clippers brought center Jarron Collins back two days after waiving the former eight-year Jazzman.

NO POLICY: The Memphis Grizzlies banned gambling on flights and in hotel rooms after an unsettled gambling debt caused teammates Tony Allen and O.J. Mayo to fight earlier in the week. Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said the team has no set policy on gambling, but that the players have been talked to about it.

"We talk to them about that at the beginning of the year," Sloan said. "Card playing has been in this business since it started. You aren't going to stop guys whether it's on the plane or in the hotel — they're going to play. We just try to tell them hopefully they don't embarrass themselves or embarrass the organization. That's the thing we're worried about."

Contributing: Andrew Aragon

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