SALT LAKE CITY — Trey Burke, Jeremy Evans and Andris Biedrins have yet to wear a Utah Jazz uniform this season.
That could happen sooner than later for the three players who’ve been sidelined with injuries.
“I’m very anxious to get everything that we have on the floor,” Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said.
Evans is apparently the closest to returning.
Wednesday’s game in New Orleans is a possibility for the 6-foot-9 forward, who has been out since injuring his rotator cuff in the preseason.
Evans smiled, held his index finger and thumb an inch apart and said “this close” when asked how close he’s getting after Monday’s shootaround. Evans has struggled lifting his right arm above his head for the past five weeks.
“He was a little bit more enthusiastic this morning, jumping around, getting more shots up, moving freer with his arm,” Corbin said. “It will be great to get a practice in with him (Tuesday). Hopefully he can go through a full practice and (we’ll) see where he is on Wednesday. He was a little bit more bouncy (Monday) in shootaround.”
Burke has been out since breaking his right index finger more than a month ago, but he’s made good strides since being allowed to do one-on-one workouts last week.
“He’s actually feeling a lot better. Hopefully (Tuesday) we can get him in some practice,” Corbin said. “I’m encouraged by his progress thus far and how he said he’s feeling.”
Burke won’t be allowed to do five-on-five scrimmaging yet, but Corbin said the point guard can do limited contact drills. That is a big step forward in his progression to returning.
Burke, who had pins inserted into his shooting hand in a surgery five weeks ago, will be re-evaluated next Monday. In the meantime, Corbin’s curious to see how the 2013 NCAA player of the year responds to his increased practice participation.
“We’ll see where we go from there,” he said. “After the workout, we fly and see if he’s sore.”
As for Biedrins, the Jazz big is walking and running more comfortably now. He has been out since spraining his left ankle two days before the season opener. Corbin is hopeful the 7-footer will begin to practice again soon as well.
Utah has also been without Brandon Rush, who played briefly in Brooklyn but has been rehabbing and working his way back into shape since that appearance last week. The shooting guard, who hadn’t played in a year after suffering a surgery-requiring ACL injury on Nov. 2, 2012, recently admitted he is still trying to learn the Jazz system.
“We’re just kind of waiting to see where and when we get the clearance to put him out there,” Corbin said.
The Jazz coach highly anticipates getting all four of those players into his rotation. His team has been short-handed all season.
“Once we get them back, we’ve got to get them in shape. We’ve got to get the cohesiveness with the group, so that process will take awhile,” Corbin said. “But just to have them all on the floor and have all the pieces that we thought we would have on the floor will give us a better chance.”