It’s more than just one guy stepping up, it’s our whole team continuing to execute together and play to each other’s strengths and Jonas is part of that. —Jazz coach Quin Snyder
SALT LAKE CITY — SALT LAKE CITY — Jonas Jerebko couldn’t help himself.
After coming off the bench to drill his first points of the season on a 3-pointer at 4:13 in the opening quarter, he had to let his emotions show in some way.
“Joe (Ingles) gave me a great pass and I was wide open,” Jerebko said. “It felt great to knock down the first one.”
Unfortunately, Thabo Sefolosha’s hand had to pay the cost as he gleefully slapped it after the bucket.
“He told me right afterward that I smacked it too hard,” Jerebko described while smiling. “I said, ‘It was my first shot as a Jazz(man) so I was excited.’”
The Jazz forward had a lot to be happy about after Utah’s 112-103 overtime win against Portland Wednesday night. He scored a season-high eight points and had seven rebounds while playing 20 minutes as Joe Johnson nurses right wrist tendon instability.
“I’ve been in this situation before so all I’ve got to do is just stay in the gym and be ready when I get an opportunity like this,” Jerebko said. “That’s all I can control.”
Coach Quin Snyder was happy with the way Jerebko threw himself into the game to compete after logging just four minutes entering the contest, with no significant stats.
“I was really happy for Jonas because he’s not had that opportunity to play and he’s been another guy that’s just stayed positive,” Snyder said. “It’s easy to have faith in guys that keep working no matter what.”/p>
After Joe Johnson missed Tuesday morning’s practice with what was initially believed to be a wrist sprain, an MRI revealed the real issue later that evening.
The NBA veteran will miss at least two weeks with tendon instability in his right wrist before being re-evaluated by team doctors.
“Unfortunately, we’re in a situation where Joe (Johnson) and Dante (Exum), a couple of our important players are out. It is what it is,” Snyder said during Wednesday morning's shootaround. “It’s more than just one guy stepping up, it’s our whole team continuing to execute together and play to each other’s strengths and Jonas is part of that.”
The Jazz are sixth in the Western Conference standings, riding an undefeated (4-0) home streak. Exum is also out with a left shoulder injury.
Jerebko has logged only four minutes the season, with no significant stats. The 6-foot-10 Swede signed as a free agent with the Jazz in the offseason after appearing in 78 games with the Boston Celtics last season, where averaged 3.8 points and 3.5 rebounds in 15.8 minutes per game.
Prior to the injury, Johnson was averaging 6.4 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.6 assists in nearly 20 minutes off the bench in his 17th NBA season, but is a much-needed locker room presence with a clutch gene that’s unmatched.
“The things that Joe’s done for us, particularly late in the game, as far as his ability to hit big shots ... We lose a guy that we consider to be one of our closers late in the game so that just puts more on everybody to connect and execute,” Snyder said.
Johnson injured his wrist during Utah’s 104-89 win against Dallas on Monday, where he logged two points and two rebounds in 16 minutes of action.
Johnson is a seven-time NBA All-Star who has the sixth-most career points among active players with 20,078 in 1,228 games played.
He is also third among active players in minutes played, fifth in 3-point field goals and sixth in all field goals made.
Jazz forward Joe Ingles knows the importance of Johnson’s role on the team, but as a professional the team isn’t afraid to adapt until he’s ready to hit the court again.
“This is what we’ve done for years now,” Ingles said. “It’s been guys who haven’t been playing as much and guys will step up and fill that role.
“Obviously, we hope Joe gets back as soon as he can but until he does, we’ll fill in with who we’ve got.”