Through five games, the latest Return of Bobby Hansen is hardly a glowing success. Hansen is struggling the way he did during the early stages of Comeback I in December, and Jazz Coach Jerry Sloan will keep using Jim Farmer in an off-guard rotation with Darrell Griffith and Hansen when the Jazz play San Antonio in the Salt Palace tonight.
"Jimmy deserves to play more than Bobby right now," said Sloan, who took Hansen aside for a brief talk after Friday's practice."It's just frustrating, having to do it all over again," said Hansen. "It seems like almost a nothing year for me personally, so far. Maybe there's enough of the season left to salvage something."
After 50 games, Hansen has played a total of 205 minutes - he played that much in one six-game stretch last season, after Griffith and Kelly Tripucka were injured. This season, he missed the first 20 games after breaking his hand in the preseason, and needed seven or eight more games to become productive.
"He was just starting to come around and play fairly decent," noted Sloan.
After breaking his cheekbone in a Jan. 1 incident with former teammate Bart Kofoed, Hansen missed 16 more games. Now that he's back, Hansen admits to being out of shape - about 80 percent of top condition, he says - and is out of the flow on the court. Sloan played him ahead of Farmer against Boston Thursday for a first time, but was disappointed with Hansen's 11-minute outing.
"He's going to have some ups and down coming back - he did the last time," Sloan said.
In December, Hansen averaged 17 minutes for nine games as Sloan benched Kofoed. This time, Farmer stands in the way of more minutes for Hansen. "It's just something I have to work through," said Hansen. "If my game returns to the level it was at, everything will take care of itself, but getting back to that level is the tough part. It's just not coming as quickly as I want."
***** All-Star players Karl Malone, John Stockton and Mark Eaton visited the Utah Legislature Friday and were honored by a resolution, as was former coach Frank Layden. Owner Larry Miller thanked legislators for their work on House Bill 390, helping pave the way for a new arena, and Coach Jerry Sloan and general manager David Checketts also addressed the House.
Malone told the Senate, "I've got one question . . . can we get something done about our taxes?"