Gordan Giricek did not practice with the Utah Jazz on Christmas Day in the team's first home workout following its long road trip.
And while Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor was to have spoken twice with coach Jerry Sloan by Tuesday night, no one was saying if any decisions had been made on Giricek's future.
Sloan said he spoke to O'Connor prior to the afternoon practice and expected to talk with him again afterward.O'Connor was not available to the media at the practice and did not answer or return calls Christmas night.
Giricek, sent home by Sloan during last week's four-game eastern road trip after an on-bench argument with the coach, was apparently not at the Zions Bank Basketball Center practice facility at least teammates said they had not seen him.
Several players said they had tried to get in touch with Giricek but had no luck. Mehmet Okur said he'd tried to reach him. "I couldn't find him. I have no idea what's going on," he said.
Team co-captain Carlos Boozer had the same result. "I left him a message, but I haven't heard from him yet," he said prior to Tuesday's practice in preparation for tonight's game in EnergySolutions Arena with the Dallas Mavericks at 7.
It seems unlikely Giricek would be reinstated in time for that game, if that's what the team does indeed decide to do. It could also buy him out he's in the final season of a four-year contract or trade him. A number of teams might like his services or at least be interested in his expiring contract.
Sloan refused to discuss the Giricek situation, other than to say he'd spoken with O'Connor and would do so again. He wouldn't say if he thought he could coexist with Giricek should he be retained.
Sloan indicated he and O'Connor had at least some preliminary thoughts on what they'll do, but he wouldn't reveal them. "We've got some plans. I'm not sure if we'll make a decision (Tuesday night)."
Sloan said he couldn't remember having personally sent a player home from a road trip before, though he recalled being an assistant on the infamous trip in which then-Jazz coach Frank Layden sent Adrian Dantley home from Phoenix and fined him 30 pieces of silver (dimes). Dantley remained with the team for a time after that, and his No. 4 was finally retired by the Jazz, with Layden's blessing, last spring.
Some Jazzmen said they would like Giricek to remain with the club. "Well, he is our teammate, and we would like to see him back on the team again, but we're not responsible for that," said Andrei Kirilenko. He hadn't seen Giricek since the backup two-guard was sent home last week. "Of course, you don't feel good about that, but it's very hard to comment and give explanation of what happened because you see one thing and the reality might be a different thing," he added."I think everybody's going to talk, all the powers that be are going to talk and figure something out," said Boozer, "and hopefully we get a chance to talk to him as teammates."
MEDICAL UPDATES: Okur, who has missed the last seven games with an injured shoulder, practiced with the team Tuesday afternoon but wasn't sure how he would do in situations where he had to push against other players or reach up to rebound. Those were things he had problems with before being inactivated, and he is considered a game-time decision for tonight. As for Tuesday before practice, he said, "I feel good. I'm fresh. If you look at first day and now after almost two weeks, it feels way better. But I've never done anything like one-on-one or five-on-five. It feels good now without pushing anybody or rebounding." He said he'd been able to lift light weights without problem.Matt Harpring planned to play tonight and wasn't sure when he will be able to schedule the colonoscopy and biopsy doctors decided he needs after a battery of tests last week revealed some intestinal ulcers. Harpring said he has had six incidents of "violent illness" in the last 16 months (he sometimes vomits so hard he loses consciousness) and he admitted the thought of a biopsy is "a little nerve-wracking," especially since he's had to wait "until the world gets back to work (after Christmas) so I can schedule something . But I'll find out soon here."
LOSING: The Jazz have lost nine of their last 11 games, but co-captain Deron Williams said he doesn't think the team is doubting itself. "I just think we've got to get our confidence back, get our swagger back. I just don't think we've got that same confidence when we step on the court every night," he said.
"We feel like we're a better team than our record shows, but we haven't played like it. We have to get back to playing good basketball. We've got to come together as a team, mentally, physically, and put together a string of wins."
Sloan agrees. "We've got to try to come together and see if we can figure out a way to win a ballgame." In his mind, that can happen, "If we defend better. That's what gives you a chance to win day in and day out."
"We always have succeeded when we stay as a team," added Andrei Kirilenko, "and we need get a little bit closer on the floor not outside, in the locker room, but on the floor and really try to help each other and kind of stick for each other. That's important thing. That's why thy Jazz always been so fun to watch."We have some problems with the guys scoring individually on us, so we need to be a little bit more concentrate on that because I think last game (against Dallas) we did pretty good against Dirk (Nowitzki), and we forget about Josh Howard."
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