SAN ANTONIO Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko on Monday was named the NBA's Western Conference Player of the Week, marking the first time since 1991 that someone besides Karl Malone or John Stockton has so been recognized.
The last time anyone from Utah won Player of the Week honors was Oct. 31, 2000, when current Los Angeles Laker Malone and now-retired Stockton shared the award.
The last Jazz player besides Stockton or Malone? That would be Jeff Malone, way back on Dec. 8 of '91.
Kirilenko averaged 18.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.5 steals and 3 blocks per game as the Jazz went 3-1 from Monday through Saturday of last week, beating Minnesota, Phoenix and Memphis.
He finished with just five boards and 10 points on 5-of-11 shooting from the field, though, in Utah's 87-78 loss Monday night at San Antonio.Indiana's Ron Artest won Eastern Conference honors Monday.
NATIONAL PERSPECTIVE: Kirilenko also got some recognition Monday from ESPNInsider.com, which dubbed him an early potential candidate for the league's Most Improved Player award: "It's been Kirilenko's all-around game," Chad Ford wrote, "that has made the biggest difference in Utah."
PUSHING SLOAN: Speaking of awards, the Jazz's public relations department already is pushing Jerry Sloan as an early candidate for Coach of the Years an honor never before bestowed on the 16th season Jazz head coach."His team," the Jazz say in game notes distributed to media members, "has already surpassed all expectations."
DECISIONS, DECISIONS: Last Saturday's decision to activate rookie center Curtis Borchardt from the injured list when big man Keon Clark was placed on it was an easy one, Jazz basketball operations senior vice president Kevin O'Connor said.
One simple reason? "Michael Ruffin's not ready to come back yet," O'Connor said.
Ruffin has been on the injured list since the season's start due to an abdominal strain. O'Connor was not prepared to predict what the Jazz will whenever Ruffin is ready. "We'll see it how it plays out," he said.
Clark, meanwhile, has a decision of his own to make.
The Jazz said Saturday that he would undergo surgery sometime this week to remove a chipped bone spur from his ankle, but Monday he was in Los Angeles seeking yet another medical opinion. No final call has been made on as to where or when or, apparently now, even if the surgery will take place.
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