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Utah Jazz notebook: D-Will gives hurting Price a break

Published: Sunday, Jan. 10 2010 12:21 a.m. MST

DALLAS — A bum shoulder may have helped backup point guard Ronnie Price deliver his biggest assist of the season.

Price opened two games last week in place of injured starter Deron Williams, despite hurting himself with tendinitis in his left shoulder.

But with Price really ailing before Saturday night's win at Dallas, so much so he really couldn't lift his left arm above his shoulder, Williams — sidelined by a sprained and bruised right wrist — felt obligated to go.

"I see how much pain Ronnie Price is in ... so I really didn't have much of a choice," Williams said before Saturday's game.

"We've kind of been feeding off each other, and he asked me if I could go, and I told him I'd do what I can, and he went out and shot around, and he said he felt good," Price added afterward. "He was like, 'I'm gonna go,' and I was like, 'Well, OK, I'll be sitting over there if anything goes wrong.' "

Williams wound up logging 42 minutes and scoring a team-high 20 points, while Price played five scoreless minutes.

"He's a tough player," teammate Ronnie Brewer said of Williams. "He felt like Ronnie Price is playing out there with pain, sacrificing for the team. When he saw how much pain (Price) was in before this game, he knew he was gonna have to go out there and contribute."

Price, meanwhile, remains plagued by shoulder pain of uncertain origin.

The Utah Valley product was able to play two games last week against Memphis only because he got the shoulder to loosen up beforehand.

"It feels like your shoulder's gonna fall off. But that's only when it really bad," he said. "When it's loose, it's not bad at all."

"With some more treatment," Price added with eye toward Monday's home game vs. Miami, "I think it will be better."

BREWER OK: Brewer partially dislocated his right pinkie finger in an early opening-quarter battle for the ball with Dallas guard Jason Kidd, but he returned and wound up playing 26 minutes.

"I got the rebound, and he got in there and went to go pull away, and I felt it pop, so I just pulled away from the basketball," said Brewer, who has dislocated the same pinkie once earlier this season and another finger three different times.

"You usually just slide it in there," he added, "but I tried to do it and was like, "Nah, I can't get it to go back in.' It was out too far. Briggsy (trainer Gary Briggs) tried it a little bit, and he couldn't get in back in there."

A Dallas team doctor could, and after X-rays proved negative Brewer — despite the grotesque injury — returned.

"I tried to play through the pain," he said after scoring nine, pulling down seven rebounds and making two steals. "I tried to make some plays out there, and I'm just glad we got the win."

MISC.: The Jazz committed just five turnovers Saturday, matching their November 2008 franchise-record low vs. the Los Angeles Clippers and matching Dallas' NBA low for this season. ... The Jazz are now 3-1 in their throwback green uniforms, which they'll wear next for Thursday's TNT-televised home game against Cleveland. ... Utah is now 4-4 on the second night of back-to-back sets, which marks one more win that it had in the same situation last season. ... Mavs big man Drew Gooden dressed but didn't play because of a sprained right ring finger, and Dallas' No. 3 scorer, Josh Howard, was inactive because of a thigh bruise. ... Big man Kosta Koufos was inactive for the Jazz on Saturday, and 10-day contract rookie Sundiata Gaines drilled his only shot attempt in the game's final minute.

e-mail: tbuckley@desnews.com

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