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Utah Jazz: Enes Kanter out with ankle sprain, hopes for Friday return

Published: Sunday, Aug. 30 2015 2:04 p.m. MDT

Utah Jazz center Enes Kanter (0) fights his way to the basket between the San Antonio Spurs power forward Tim Duncan (back) and San Antonio Spurs center Tiago Splitter (22) during a game at EnergySolutions Arena on Friday, November 15, 2013. (Matt Gade, Deseret News) Utah Jazz center Enes Kanter (0) fights his way to the basket between the San Antonio Spurs power forward Tim Duncan (back) and San Antonio Spurs center Tiago Splitter (22) during a game at EnergySolutions Arena on Friday, November 15, 2013. (Matt Gade, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Enes Kanter limped through the pressroom and stood in the dinner line about an hour before Monday’s tipoff.

This, by the way, is a task usually done by team employees who aren’t millionaires.

Though he was wearing a walking boot on his sprained right ankle, Kanter said he didn’t want to distract one of the ballboys to deliver his pregame meal. Instead, the Jazz center said he preferred to have them focus on players who were actually going to play against the Chicago Bulls.

An MRI earlier in the day revealed that Kanter has an inversion sprain of his right ankle, forcing him to sit out.

“I don’t feel that bad. I feel just a little bit of soreness when I step on it,” Kanter said while carrying his meal back to the locker room. “It hurts a little bit.”

Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said the third-year pro told him he could’ve played if Corbin really needed him. Kanter is eyeing a return the day after Thanksgiving, the next time Utah plays.

“I’m hoping to be back Friday,” he said.

Kanter injured himself in the second half of Sunday’s 95-73 blowout loss at Oklahoma City when he rolled his ankle while on defense.

Kanter certainly didn’t lose his sense of humor after being injured. When a reporter mentioned that he’d been playing well recently, the Jazz center smiled and said, “Did you watch the game?”

FEELING EMPATHETIC: Corbin admitted he was bummed for Bulls point guard Derrick Rose, who underwent surgery Monday to repair the torn meniscus in his right knee. The former MVP missed the entire 2012-13 season with an ACL injury in his left knee.

"I'm sad for the guy. I know how tough it was for him last year to miss the entire season with the injury that he had,” Corbin said. “He worked his tail off and looked like he was turning the corner and feeling better about himself.”

Rose is out for the season.

“To get another injury, it's just an unfortunate part of the business. We're praying that everything will turn out well for him. He seems like a really nice young man, so we're hoping he gets back soon.”

BEAR HUG: Mascot Bear was honored during a break in action of Monday’s game by Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and Jazz owner Gail Miller. This is Bear’s 20th season of cheerleading, wild antics, sled-riding, ladder-climbing and Silly String shooting in Utah. His first game in action as Utah’s mascot was Nov. 4, 1994.

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