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Michael Brandy, Deseret News
Mehmet Okur hits balls on the driving range during the "Deron Williams Celebrity Gala & Golf Weekend" at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi, Utah.

LEHI — Mehmet Okur can't do much about his basketball game right now.

The Utah Jazz center, however, was excited to work on his golf game Saturday afternoon at Deron Williams' charity tournament.

That might come as a surprise to some, considering he had surgery to repair his ruptured left Achilles tendon in April.

"Actually," Okur said when asked about golfing in his condition, "it's good for me."

Though he's been cleared to golf — and reap the benefits of walking the fairways — the injured center said he's "hoping" to be ready to join the Utah Jazz on the court in the preseason.

Okur even believes it's possible to play by the beginning of the NBA's regular season, which would be about six months after he ruptured the tendon in Denver. That would fit in the recovery time frame his doctor told him after his playoff-ending procedure.

"Like, so far so good," Okur said of his rehab. "Hopefully I'm going to be able to be back early and maybe catch up (in) the preseason games a little bit and go from there."

Okur still walks with a slight limp on his left side — something that the walking and golfing should help, he claims.

But the good news, he added with a smile, is that he no longer has to wear a walking boot on his right foot, something that was required for a while after he underwent surgery to repair the Achilles that ruptured during Game 1 of the Jazz's first-round playoff series against Denver. The tendon doesn't hurt anymore, either.

"Doing good," he said. "I'm a lot better."

Normally one to leave for his homeland of Turkey in the offseason, the surgery forced Okur to stay in Utah this summer. Along with golfing — a sport he played multiple times just last week — Okur has five rehab sessions a week. He said doing pool exercises and lifting weights has helped him get "a lot stronger."

Okur anticipates being able to start jogging, shooting and doing other things on the court in a month.

But he really has his eye on being fully healed for the season-opener.

"I'm hoping," Okur added. "I don't know what to say about my injury because I've never had such a long-time injury like that in my career."

WAIT AND SEE: Williams doesn't know too much about the Jazz's lottery-pick, but the All-Star point guard was impressed with what he saw Butler small forward Gordon Hayward do at the Orlando Pro Summer League.

"He seems like a real smart player. He has a lot of tools, can do a lot of things," Williams said of the Jazz's No. 9 overall draft selection. "I think he'll be pretty solid in our offense because of how smart he is and how he comes off screens. He's got a lot of size."

Williams, who watched the Jazz games on TV, isn't sure how soon Hayward will be able to contribute.

"There's no way to tell until he gets into training camp," Williams said. "Summer league's different."

UP FOR GRABS?: The Jazz reportedly have contacted Miami free agent Udonis Haslem, but it appears the Heat will be able to retain their backup power forward after working out a sign-and-trade deal for LeBron James with Cleveland.

A source told the South Florida Sun Sentinel that the move likely ensures that Miami will re-sign Haslem.

Other big men available through trades, according to ESPN's Chad Ford, include: Al Jefferson, Tyson Chandler, Elton Brand, Emeka Okafor and Marcin Gortat, with the latter two perhaps being most intriguing to the Jazz.

Ford's list of guards and swingmen on the block: Rip Hamilton, T.J. Ford, Hedo Turkoglu, Gilbert Arenas, Baron Davis, Jose Calderon.

FOR THE KIDS: Williams again chose a children's organization to be the beneficiary of his annual Point of Hope foundation gala and golf tournament. He chose Shriners Hospitals for Children to help out this year. That decision was "easy" for the point guard, who has friends with kids there. He was also moved while visiting the hospital in Salt Lake City last season.

At Saturday's golf tournament, Williams presented Shriners Hospital with a $65,000 check from money raised over the weekend.

Korver, Okur, Hayward, Jeff Hornacek, Ronnie Price, Paul Millsap, Shawn Bradley, Bryan Kehl and Shaun Nua were among the two dozen sports celebrities with local ties scheduled to attend the fundraising festivities.

Previous beneficiaries included the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and The Carmen B. Pingree Center for Children with Autism.

"I just love giving, love being able to help raise money for the charities," Williams said. "A lot of the kids I've met, a lot of the stories really touched my heart, so hopefully I can give back to those guys."

FOND FAREWELL: Okur understands why Carlos Boozer and Korver signed contracts with Chicago, and even wished them "good luck the rest of the way." But he called it "tough" to see his teammates leave.

"Carlos been six years with me and with this team," Okur said. "He (made) me a better player because he was dominating inside. Kyle, he also did a great job off the bench for us and he was huge for us."

Jazz president Randy Rigby sent messages to both players to give his best.

"We think the world of both of them, what they did for the Utah Jazz and wish them well," Rigby said. "I texted them both and told them it would've been nice to have worked something out, but understand that it's a business and they need to take the opportunity when they feel it's there."

e-mail: jody@desnews.com