Matt Harpring's wife gave him quite the Christmas gift.

It was a trip to the hospital, which — as it turned out — was much-needed.

Bothered by a stomach virus, or something of the sort, Harpring's wife, Mandy, insisted the veteran Jazz forward seek medical attention when his health took a turn for the worse last week.

"I couldn't stop throwing up," said Harpring, who — though still looking rather pale and a bit drained — returned to the Jazz lineup Saturday night. "Finally, my wife said, 'You're going to the emergency room.' "

It was quite a good call by Mrs. Harpring, who just happens to be a doctor herself.

"I passed out three times. It was a nightmare," said Harpring, who checked into St. Mark's Hospital before being released after a Christmas stay of about 26 hours. "My body temperature went down to 96 degrees. They couldn't wake me up. They had to stick a tube down my throat, finally, to stop me from throwing up."

"I went through some traumatic stuff. I mean, I had never been admitted to a hospital," said Harpring, who still has IV marks visible on his body. "I had a lot of issues when I went in there, and the doctors did a heckuva job ... Luckily my wife took me ... She was smart about that.

Harpring, discussing the matter Saturday for the first time, still doesn't know the cause of his illness.

But he said numerous issues — including heart and appendix concerns — were ruled out. And he was feeling much better Saturday, when — while scoring just two points on 1-of-5 shooting from the field in the Jazz's 96-86 win over Portland — he managed to pull down five rebounds in 12 minutes' worth of action.

"I feel good," he said. "My stomach's healed. I still don't digest well, but it's coming.

"I just hope no one gets what I had."

ONE FOR SLOAN: Among other "award" winners at what is roughly the one-third pole of the NBA season — (although Utah, which played its 31st game Saturday, is finished with well more than the first third of its 82-game schedule) — ESPN.com's Marc Stein has tapped Jazz coach Jerry Sloan as his so-called "Coach of the Trimester."

Wrote Stein, in part: "Sloan has (Carlos) Boozer and Deron Williams, both of whom were openly doubted by countless skeptics throughout last season, standing up to the ghosts of Stockton-to-Malone and challenging each other for Most Improved plaudits, even with Andrei Kirilenko still somewhat out of sorts ... and a big hole at shooting guard."

Sloan is now five wins shy of passing Larry Brown for fourth place on the NBA's all-time regular-season coaching victories list.

MISC.: With Harpring back, C.J. Miles re-joined Roger Powell Jr. on the Jazz's inactive list Saturday ... A Jazz spokesman confirmed that the NBA has ruled former University of Utah guard Andre Miller technically did not miss a game after his recent trade from Denver to Philadelphia, so he's back in second place behind San Antonio's Bruce Bowen on the league's active consecutive games played leaders list and Jazz center Mehmet Okur — who played in his 211th straight game Saturday — has been bumped from fourth place back to fifth ... Alumni update: Ex-Jazz guard Keith McLeod of Golden State went into the Warriors' game Saturday hitting 42-of-44 from the free-throw line — a 95 percent clip ... The Jazz's sellout Saturday was their sixth in 15 home games this season.


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