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Utah Jazz notebook: Injuries mounting for Jazz

Published: Wednesday, July 1 2015 11:28 a.m. MDT

Utah's Andrei Kirilenko missed Sunday's practice because of a strained back injured in Saturday's game. (Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News) Utah's Andrei Kirilenko missed Sunday's practice because of a strained back injured in Saturday's game. (Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News)

The Jazz practiced with just eight healthy players Sunday, and that could be all they have available for tonight's game against the Memphis Grizzlies.

Neither backup small forward Andrei Kirilenko nor backup power forward Paul Millsap — both injured in the second quarter of Saturday's win over Portland — worked out.

Both are being called game-time decisions by the Jazz for tonight, Kirilenko with a strained back and Millsap a bruised left knee.

"Obviously that puts pressure on these other big guys that we've got sitting there to be ready to play," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said Sunday.

"Fez (backup center Kyrylo Fesenko) did okay (Saturday)," Sloan added. "He had some good moments. He had some that were questionable. But he's got to continue to work and get better shape so can stay out there longer when he gets the opportunity."

Utah Jazz forward Paul Millsap (24) dunks the ball as the Jazz play the Chicago Bulls at Energy Solutions Arena, Thursday, Nov. 26, 2009. (Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News) Utah Jazz forward Paul Millsap (24) dunks the ball as the Jazz play the Chicago Bulls at Energy Solutions Arena, Thursday, Nov. 26, 2009. (Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News)

Jazz combo guard Ronnie Price, who's missed nine straight games and remains out indefinitely with a left foot/toe injury, also did not practice Sunday.

Absent as well was shooting guard Kyle Korver, who has returned to the P3 Peak Performance Project training center in Santa Barbara, Calif., for more rehab work on his surgically repaired left knee.

He'll remain there until Wednesday, a Jazz spokesman said.

Korver previously spent about a week at the center, but last week his knee — which has kept him out all season — was deemed to not be strong enough to play yet.

Swingman C.J. Miles (thumb surgery) did some courtwork Sunday, but he wasn't ready to scrimmage and won't play tonight.

Utah's Andrei Kirilenko missed Sunday's practice because of a strained back injured in Saturday's game.  (Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News) Utah's Andrei Kirilenko missed Sunday's practice because of a strained back injured in Saturday's game. (Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News)

PLAYING TO WIN: Sloan's injury-decimated bench was down to just three players for Saturday's second half, but — even with a fourth-quarter lead that never dipped below 17 until the final minute — he struck with a seven-man rotation until second-year big Kosta Koufos finally checked in with 2:15 left.

"I've got to win the game first before I start substituting," Sloan said afterward. "That's what I've always done. If you've ever lost a game like that, you'd know why. You've got to win it first."

FIRED: When New Jersey fired coach Lawrence Frank on Sunday, it marked the 235th coaching change since Sloan became the Jazz's head coach on Dec. 9, 1988.

"This is a very fickle business," Sloan said, "and if you don't understand that it can eat you alive."

It marked the Nets' eighth change since Sloan's hiring, four shy of co-leaders Denver and New York. Memphis (formerly Vancouver) is among five franchises with 11 changes during Sloan's tenure.

"This business can change so quick," Sloan said before the Frank firing — which followed 16 straight losses at the season's start for Jersey — was made public. "You start off and feel, 'We're decent; we're young.' ... But losing is tough.

"We lost 56 games (in the 2004-05 season), and that wasn't an easy thing to try to deal with. But you find out some things about players, you find out some things about ownership, all that stuff, about how they stick with you."

HE SAID IT: Sloan, asked about point guard Deron Williams' between-the-legs pass to rookie Wesley Matthews for a first-quarter 3-pointer Saturday: "John Stockton played here 18 years and never went between his legs. One time. I think he did one time, in Houston. I got upset with him a little bit. ... All I'm interested in is the results. It doesn't have to have a lot of flair.

Whatever they've got, whatever they put out there, is fine with me."

ALUMNI UPDATE: According to an Internet search, ex-Jazz big man Ben Handlogten — who'll be remembered after a two-season, 38-game Jazz career for being the NBA's oldest rookie, playing a game on a torn ACL, his YouTube dunk over Denver's Marcus Camby and being part of a 2004 trade with Phoenix that netted Utah New York's 2010 first-round draft choice — is now an owner and managing partner of BBA Properties, a Charlotte-area real estate/construction firm.

e-mail: tbuckley@desnews.com

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