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Utah Jazz notebook: Al Jefferson's fall a pain in the, um, backside

Published: Tuesday, June 30 2015 7:10 a.m. MDT

Al Jefferson fell down after getting hit while dunking against the Wizards. (Michael Brandy, Deseret News) Al Jefferson fell down after getting hit while dunking against the Wizards. (Michael Brandy, Deseret News)

WASHINGTON — The manner in which Al Jefferson injured himself in the fourth quarter Monday somewhat symbolized what happened to the entire Utah Jazz at the Verizon Center.

After dunking the ball while getting hit, Big Al lost his legs from underneath him and fell hard on his backside and suffered some serious pain in the, um, process.

"That's why I don't like dunking," Jefferson said. "But I've just got to bounce back. I deal with them type of injuries every day."

The 6-foot-10 center remained on the court for a couple of minutes before returning to action after a timeout.

"I fell on my buttocks," Jefferson said. "It's sore. I'm probably going to feel it more in the morning."

The Jazz might, too, if they contemplate their painful fall in a 108-101 loss to the Washington Wizards.

Jefferson bounced back quite strong from his tumble. He quickly hit a jumper, blocked a shot, turned an inside move into a three-point play and scored seven of his 25 points in the final six minutes after the injury.

"It's a lot of shooting pain going through your body," Jefferson said, "but in due time it will go away. . . . Thirty, 40 seconds later, it kind of went away and I was able to continue to go."

It's uncertain whether Jefferson will practice today in New Jersey, where the team flew after Monday's setback. But he plans on suiting up for Wednesday night's game against the Nets.

"You've just got to suck this up," Jefferson said. "That's a part of the game."

ANOTHER ILLNESS: Rookie Gordon Hayward did not dress for Monday's game because of a sinus infection that he said really packed a wallop on Sunday night.

It was the first game missed by the No. 9 overall pick because of illness or injury.

Hayward said he wasn't sure if he'll practice today.

With Hayward out, fellow first-year forward Jeremy Evans got to dress for the first time in three games. He had been the odd-man out since Mehmet Okur returned Wednesday from his back injury.

Even though he's been playing, Hayward has been relatively quiet since his big three-game spurt from Dec. 29-Jan. 1 when he hit double digits in consecutive games. The 20-year-old has only scored a combined 15 points in six games he's played in since then, including three scoreless appearances.

Evans, meanwhile, had only played three minutes — scoring four points with five rebounds — since Jan. 5. He saw two minutes of action but didn't record any statistics in this one.

ON THE WALL: Before Monday, you could just about always bank on a Jazz victory when the team scored 100 points.

Utah's 108-101 defeat was only the second setback for Utah in 22 meetings (20-2) — and the first road loss in 10 previous situations — when it hit the century mark on offense.

As much as they struggled on offense early on, defense against the Wizards was a problem all night. Coach Jerry Sloan said the Jazz particularly struggled when they tried to zone and against an offense they traditionally do well running.

Washington hit 53.5 percent of its field-goal attempts.

"We had a difficult time dealing with the pick and roll," Sloan said. "They had guys getting on top of the basket, creating easy baskets or pitching to somebody wide open. They did a good job. For some reason, we couldn't handle what they were doing."

LIP SERVICE: A couple of Jazz players did provide a funny moment for the 14,925 spectators. After showing a dozen or so couples lock lips — or refuse to — the Kiss Cam focused in on the end of Utah's bench.

Kyrylo Fesenko and Andrei Kirilenko both happened to be watching the video screen, and both chuckled when they saw themselves in the smooching spotlight. Fesenko played along, reaching his arms out toward AK-47 as the crowd laughed.

For the record, Fes did not follow through on the kiss.

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