SALT LAKE CITY — Mehmet Okur has not played an official basketball game since that fateful Game 1 of the first round last April in Denver.

That could soon change.

Okur's return to game action — after nearly an eight-month absence due to Achilles surgery — might happen sometime during the Utah Jazz's annual pre-Christmas road trip, according to team president Randy Rigby.

Utah's four-game journey begins Friday in New Orleans and ends on Dec. 22 in Minnesota.

"We think it's a matter of maybe a week, hopefully, that we're gonna see him close to action," Rigby told Tom Kirkland on KSL-TV's SportsBeat Sunday. "So, I'm optimistic that within a week to two weeks, I'm hoping, that we see Memo back on the court."

Rigby's statement was the first public announcement of a timetable for Okur's return to the team.

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After suffering the injury against the Nuggets in the postseason opener, Okur underwent surgery to repair his ruptured left Achilles tendon in early May and has been rehabbing ever since. He returned this weekend from his third rehab session at a Santa Barbara performance lab.

Okur's Achilles has been 100 percent healed for months, but he's been working on regaining muscle, mobility, lateral moves and confidence in his left leg. He's been practicing with the team for a couple of weeks, including in scrimmages.

"Our trainers have told us recently that they're really happy," Rigby said. "It's right now really in Memo's mind to just mentally be ready to be back."

Contributing: Tim Buckley


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