SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Jazz won't have defensive stopper Derrick Favors again tonight when they take on the Orlando Magic, but there is some good news on the health front for the struggling squad.
The Jazz will have starting small forward Marvin Williams back for the first time since he smacked his head against the court in New Orleans last Wednesday. He didn't have headaches after going through shootaround and was medically cleared to play by the team doctor.
Williams will start, pushing DeMarre Carroll back to the bench.
Williams became optimistic Tuesday after getting his heart rate up and then not feeling concussion-like symptoms in the aftermath. On Monday, his head pounded a bit after he went through shootaround, preventing him from playing in the Jazz's 105-104 loss to the Clippers.
"I'm doing much, much better," said Williams after this morning's shootaround. "I'm very confident in our trainers and our doctors this organization has. If they clear me to play, I'm more than confident in getting back out there."
Williams said he won't play timidly, either.
"I was joking around today it's like riding a bike, if you can shoot it, you can always shoot it. That's definitely not going to be a problem for me,' Williams said. "If I get back out there today, I definitely won't be tentative about getting to the paint and mixing it up." As for Favors, the 6-foot-10 power forward continues to rest and get treatment on the painful plantar fasciitis in his right foot, and he hopes to resume physical activity by Friday.
"It's feeling better," he said. "The soreness went away, the swelling went down."
But the treatment, which includes alternating between heat and ice on his arch among other methods, continues on.
"It's boring," Favors admitted.
More short shots from shootaround:
— Fifteen years after his rookie season with the Utah Jazz, Orlando Magic rookie coach Jacque Vaughn remains impressed with the work ethic of John Stockton and Karl Malone.
"John was at every single practice. Even as a rookie, he was in line in front of me in every single drill, and Karl was unbelievable," Vaughn said. "(Malone's) approach, his physicality, his taking care of his body, his work ethic. It was great for a young guy to see."
— Now that Vaughn is a head coach in Orlando after two seasons as an assistant in San Antonio under Gregg Popovich, the former Jazz player appreciates his old boss in Utah all the more.
All these years later, Jerry Sloan continues to have an impact on Vaughn.
"I played for an unbelievable coach, that’s' the first thing that comes to mind (about being back in Utah)," Vaughn said. "He taught me how to be a professional, how to work hard in this league, how to, as he would say, bring my hard hat every day."
— Al Jefferson on how the Jazz (9-10) can snap their three-game skid and end the two-game road winning streak Orlando (7-10) is on:
"We've just got to do what we do best," he said. "When they come into our building, we've got to keep that up-tempo offense and play inside-outside basketball, get stops. I think when we do that, we're fine."
Gordon Hayward added that the Jazz have to be aware of Orlando's spacing, shooting and sharing. He knows guys like J.J. Reddick and Arron Afflalo can light it up from outside.