For a second straight day, injured Jazz small forward Andrei Kirilenko "despite a still bad back" did not rule out the possibility of playing in tonight's TNT-televised game against the Phoenix Suns.
"We'll see," said Kirilenko, who stretched and did a cardio work but did not fully participate in the Jazz's shootaround this morning. "I think Saturday (vs. Orlando) for sure. Tonight is a possibility.
"Tonight before (the game) I will try to move and see how it feels," he added. "In the morning it was a little stiff."
Kirilenko missed the Jazz's last two games with lower-back inflammation, an injury initially sustained during practice last week.
Reserve swingman C.J. Miles has started the past two games at small forward, but teammates made it clear they'd welcome Kirilenko back with open arms.
"We've love to see him out there, love to get him back in just to break him in a little bit," power forward Carlos Boozer said. "You know, I think he's getting a little bit more comfortable with his back pain, and hopefully he'll be comfortable enough to play tonight. If not tonight, then hopefully on Saturday."
It's uncertain, meanwhile, whether or not the Western Conference-leading Suns will have starting point guard Steve Nash at EnergySolutions Arena.
The two-time NBA MVP left Wednesday's overtime win over Indiana late in the third quarter because of the stomach flu, and did not fly with the team from Phoenix to Salt Lake City.
Phoenix also will be without usual starting small forward Grant Hill, who underwent an appendectomy Wednesday and is expected to miss 2-to-3 weeks.
"Obviously they're more dangerous with Steve Nash," Boozer said, "because he gets everybody involved, where some other guys are more finishers than set-up people."
"Of course they're not the exact same, but they still get up and down the floor, they still shoot the ball well," Jazz point guard Deron Williams added. "You've still got to respect people driving to the basket, so, regardless, we're gonna have to be ready to defend and ready to go."
With tonight's game scheduled for a late 8:30 p.m. start because of the TNT coverage, however, there is a possibility Nash could rejoin the 25-10 Suns later today.
The Jazz prepped Thursday morning as if Nash will play.
"We did," Boozer said. "We just assumed that he'll probably come on a later flight, but we have no idea.
"Obviously he's what makes them go, so we're prepared for him," Boozer added. "But we're also prepared for (Leandro) Barbosa and (sporadically used Dixie State product) Marcus Banks."
Added Williams: "Barbosa is tough to handle, Banks is playing well right now. I mean, they're a good team regardless."
Jazz coach Jerry Sloan felt similarly Thursday morning.
"Everybody knows what a great player (Nash) is," Sloan said. "But they have some great players that can certainly do the job. Somebody else steps up and gets the chance to play, then that's what you have to try to deal with."