Last time Carlos Arroyo sprained his left ankle, he did not know what to expect.

"Last year I felt it was worse — because I felt everything crack when I did it," Arroyo said, "and I was kind of scared."

As a result, the Jazz's starting point guard wound up missing 10 games last season. This time, the sprain may not be as severe — but Arroyo won't risk coming back prematurely.

So the Jazz put Arroyo on the injured list Monday, meaning he will miss at least the 2004-05 season's first five games. Only time will tell how long beyond that he is out.

"I want to feel 100 percent before I come back, so I can help the team," Arroyo said. "You have to be patient."

With backup point guard Raul Lopez (knee) also out, the Jazz and coach Jerry Sloan are considering multiple alternatives at the point.

Ex-Jazz guard Howard Eisley is likely to be signed before Wednesday's opener against the Los Angeles Lakers. Keith McLeod, brought in as the Jazz's No. 3 point, will see action. Shooting guard Raja Bell could help, too.

Then there is this volunteer: "I can play point guard — if coach wants me to," Jazz All-Star forward Andrei Kirilenko said with a wide grin Monday.

MONEY MATTERS: Newly obtained contract details on the Jazz's four big summer signings show power forward Carlos Boozer will make $10,967,500 this season, followed by three successive seasons at $11,593,816 and one at $11,593,817. The sixth season of a $68 million deal, valued at $12,657,233, is at Boozer's option.

Center Mehmet Okur's six-year, $50 million deal has an early termination players' option after season No. 5, and is spread out as follows: $7.5 million this season, two seasons at $8.25 million, two more at $8.5 million and $9 million in season No. 6.

Arroyo and guard Gordan Giricek both got four-year, $16 million contracts worth $4 million per season over each year of the deal.

MILLER CAUTIOUS: After committing since July to spend about $250 million over the next four-to-six seasons, Larry H. Miller has high expectations. But there also is a part of the Jazz owner that wonders if what he wants is really what he will get.

"What scares me is I remember a long time ago, when Golden State (acquired) Chris Webber. I thought, 'Man, those guys are gonna win for 10 years,' " Miller said. "And then, when Sacramento signed Webber and (Mike) Bibby and those guys a couple of years ago, I thought, 'Boy, they're gonna win for 10 years.' "

The result? "Things (have) a way of crumbling," Miller said.

The Jazz owner hopes the Kings' and Warriors' woes won't come to Utah. But if they do, Miller already has suspicions as to why they would.

"You always worry about the attitude bug. You worry about the injury bugs," he said. "So, right now, I feel like our future is extremely bright. Although those (other) things are always lurking in the background."

RUSSELL HOT: Former Jazz swingman Bryon Russell of Denver and ex-BYU big man Rafael Araujo of Toronto apparently had a pleasant introduction during a recent Nuggets-Raptors preseason game.

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According to the Toronto Sun, Araujo committed "a flagrant foul that made (Russell) so mad, he had to be physically restrained by teammate Kenyon Martin. . . . After the game, Russell said he didn't think Araujo made a play for the ball when he windmilled both arms down on to Russell's head and shoulders."

Russell supposedly was overheard saying, "I can afford" the fine for retribution.

"I didn't mean to do that," Araujo told the Sun. "But I talked to the ref and he said that doesn't matter, because it looks like a flagrant foul."

The Raptors rookie reportedly shrugged when asked if he was surprised Russell became so livid. "I'm trying to compete, not trying to have a fight with anybody," Araujo said. "I'm trying to play ball, take care of my business and go home."