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Utah Jazz: Boozer says knee 'feels great now,' but no return set

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 16 2008 12:56 a.m. MST

BOSTON — He rode a bike while the Jazz held their shootaround Tuesday morning, and he didn't play when they lost 100-91 the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night.
But he said he hasn't suffered any setbacks.
Instead, All-Star power forward Carlos Boozer simply continues to rehab — with the Jazz still uncertain when he'll return from a strained left quadriceps tendon and bruised kneecap sustained nearly a month ago, on Nov. 19 vs. Milwaukee.
"I don't know when he'll be back," coach Jerry Sloan said after shootaround at TD Banknorth Garden. "We'll just see when he gets here."
Boozer, who earlier had indicated he hoped to be back sometime last week, said before Monday's game that the knee was "a lot stronger, not as sore."
But he didn't want to commit to a specific return date, so as not to "put my foot in my mouth" again.
He did, however, say he planned to practice with the team today in Boston, adding, "If it feels good, maybe Wednesday," and "just playing it by ear."
The Jazz visit New Jersey on Wednesday night, stop No. 2 in a five-game road swing against Eastern Conference opponents.
Boozer has now missed 14 straight games, as much — it was suggested by one Jazz official Monday — because of the bone bruise in the knee as the strain in the tendon over it.
Boozer said Monday that he did take part in practice last Friday in Utah, and that he woke up Saturday feeling the aftereffects.
"It got a little sore over the weekend, but it feels great now," he said. "So I'll see what I can do (today) and go from there."
Boozer said he wished he could have played against Boston but added he'll get another chance when the defending NBA champion Celtics visit Utah on Feb. 19.
"The way I play, I'm physical, and I've got to bang against KG (Kevin Garnett) or Perk (Kendrick Perkins) or whoever it is out there," he said with reference to Boston's starting big men. "I mean, I probably wouldn't be strong enough to do it. But maybe."
Beyond "day-to-day," the Jazz never have offered a timetable for how long Boozer was expected to be out.
But on Monday the two-time All-Star suggested he's not at all surprised it's been nearly a month.
"It's one thing to be a regular person ... and have to walk on it," he said. "But to do what we do is different."


E-mail: tbuckley@desnews.com

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