It’s not foreign territory for Fave. —Jazz coach Quin Snyder
SALT LAKE CITY — To Derrick Favors, it’s not a big deal that he’s been thrust into a different role as the starting center for the Utah Jazz after Rudy Gobert was ruled out of action for at least four weeks because of a leg contusion.
The Jazz will miss Gobert, who is the anchor of the Jazz defense and has been improving his offensive game of late. But it’s nothing new to Favors, who had to fill in at the five spot when Gobert went down for 18 games in the 2015-16 season with a leg injury and last April when Gobert was injured in the first game of the playoffs against the L.A. Clippers.
“It’s the same as last year, same as the year before that when Rudy went down and I had to move to the five spot,” Favors said after Monday's shootaround. “Even before that, I was starting at the five, so I’m ready for it. I’m excited about it, it’s a new challenge for me. I get to be a big part of the offense now, a big part of the defense too.”
Favors, who had 24 points and 12 rebounds Saturday against Brooklyn, will be starting in place of Gobert again tonight when the Jazz play the Minnesota Timberwolves in Vivint Arena at 7 p.m.
“It’s not foreign territory for Fave,” said coach Quin Snyder. “He’s played in those situations before, obviously the playoffs last year being the most recent.”
Snyder said he’s still trying to process what Gobert’s injury means to his whole team, which is already without Dante Exum, who is presumably out for the year with a shoulder injury and Joe Johnson, who has been out for two weeks with a wrist injury.
“We’ve been through this before and every situation is different and every year is different,” said Snyder, “Losing Dante is different than losing Joe, losing Joe is different than losing Rudy. It’s impactful in different areas in different ways at different levels That’s why it’s a team game.”
The Jazz also clarified why Gobert came back in Friday’s game after getting injured and then was ruled out for four weeks on Sunday after sitting out Saturday’s game. A team spokesman said Gobert passed all protocols on Friday night, but showed different symptoms and was given an MRI and now will be out a month.
“Everbody knows Rudy is a high-level player and he anchors our defense in many ways,” Snyder continued. “Our margin for error gets a little slimmer and our team will adjust and that’s all you can do. All you can do is deal with adversity and hopefully come out stronger.”