Gus Ruelas, AP
Utah Jazz guard Jamaal Tinsley (6) gets by Los Angeles Lakers center Robert Sacre (50) as he drives to the basket in the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game, Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Gus Ruelas)
It's something that's a nagging injury that hurts real bad... —Jazz guard Jamaal Tinsley

Jamaal Tinsley, who's been suffering from a painful wisdom tooth all preseason, made significant progress from Saturday to Sunday.

Not to the point the backup point guard could fully participate in practice. Still feeling aftereffects of mouth surgery, Tinsley wasn't allowed to do contact drills or scrimmage.

But he could talk.

That's something a puffy-cheeked Tinsley struggled to do for a couple of days after having that wisdom tooth extracted on Thursday.

"Just a lot of swelling and pain," he said. "Right now, I can do more talking. I feel better."

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Tinsley tried to deal with the agony for three weeks, but the Jazz had a day off Thursday and a few days at home after that so the timing was right to visit the dentist. Not only did he suffer from inflammation and pain, but he also had to avoid letting air dry out his tooth socket.

"It's something that's a nagging injury that hurts real bad," he said.

Tinsley traveled with the Jazz to Portland and will be a game-time decision for tonight's game (8 p.m., ROOT). Utah will be without Raja Bell (not active) and Earl Watson, who stayed home for rehab and evaluation on his surgically repaired right knee.

By the way, don't count on Tinsley having wisdom teeth extracted anytime soon.

"I've got three left," he said, "but this is going to be the last one."