DALLAS — The Utah Jazz could be back to full strength for tonight’s game against the Dallas Mavericks.
Both Derrick Favors (hip) and Jeremy Evans (tailbone/elbow) are expected to play after practicing Thursday and going through shootaround this morning at American Airlines Center.
Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin flashed a smile when asked about their injury situation at shootaround.
“They’re fresh. They look like they’re excited to go and we’re excited to have them back,” Corbin said. “We’re looking forward to the game.”
The Jazz (16-32) have lost three in a row, with Favors missing all three games and Evans sitting out the past two.
“It’s tough. I hate that I had to sit out those game,” Favors said. “It’s always tough when you’ve got to sit out for injuries. At the same time, you’ve got to be smart and listen to your doctors.”
Favors played through pain after injuring his hip on the first play at Detroit three weeks ago when he landed awkwardly after a dunk. He played the next night at Minnesota but hasn’t returned.
“The last two games I played, I just fought through the pain,” he said. ”But after those two games it was just hurting too bad. I’m feeling a lot better. Hopefully it feels better for the game.”
Evans crashed on his backside during the Jazz’s loss to Golden State last Friday, bruising his tailbone and right elbow.
“I’m good now,” he said. “I’m just glad I was able to walk away. Usually, you shake it off, get up and continue to play. It was a little harder than I thought.”
Evans said he’s not hampered by the injury any more.
“If I had any limitations, I’d probably just sit out,” he said. “But I think I’m good.”
The Jazz will face a Dallas team that has won three games in a row to improve its record to 29-21.
The Mavericks won their first meeting with the Jazz 103-93 in Dallas on Nov. 22.
As usual, the Mavs are led by big man Dirk Nowitzki, who’s averaging 22.0 points and 6.2 rebounds. The 35-year-old will be the oldest participant in next week’s All-Star Game.
Corbin called him a “tremendous, tremendous player” and is impressed how the 12th-year pro has adapted his game over the years, scoring more off of pick-and-rolls and becoming a better passer.
“I think,” Corbin said, “he’s a very smart, accomplished player who’s understanding how to be effective at this stage of his career.”
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