I think this will be a time where it tests our character. —Donovan Mitchell
NEW YORK — Injuries continue to hit the Utah Jazz hard.
After Friday’s shootaround, the team announced that starting point guard Ricky Rubio is out against Brooklyn tonight with right Achilles soreness.
Veteran forward Thabo Sefolosha is also questionable with right knee soreness.
These injuries are on top of Rudy Gobert’s right tibia contusion, Joe Johnson’s right wrist tendon instability and Dante Exum’s shoulder injury.
Two-way guard Nate Wolters will be made available after being recalled from his G League team assignment with the Salt Lake City Stars.
Jazz at Nets
Today, 5:30 p.m.
As the Jazz prepare to face the Brooklyn Nets, the team views this four-game road stretch without key players as a pivotal point of the year, where it could either make or break them in the long run.
“I think this will be a time where it tests our character,” said Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell. “We don’t have the home crowd back there to kind of support us and kind of get us going when we’re down. We’ve got to tough it out.”
Utah (6-9) dropped a tough game to the New York Knicks, 106-101, Wednesday night after leading for much of the first three quarters, but now Brooklyn presents a different challenge.
For the second time in a seven-day span, the Utah Jazz are playing the Nets. But this time, the Jazz won’t have their home fans cheering in Salt Lake City.
Last Saturday, Utah held on to beat Brooklyn 114-106 at Vivint Arena but has lost two straight since then. Utah’s 61-45 lead after two quarters was Brooklyn’s largest halftime deficit this season. Nets star D’Angelo Russell also came off the court late in the fourth quarter at Utah with a left knee contusion after posting a cool 26 points in 33 minutes. There is still no timetable for Russell’s return.
“They’ve played really well and the game we had with them was a close game,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said after Thursday’s practice. “It was a really competitive game. I think their ability to drive the ball, we put them on the foul line a lot and that was because they were attacking us.
“Transition defense is obviously no magic there,” he added. “They play with a lot of pace and move the ball up the floor quickly and then attack the rim, so their style hasn’t changed.”
In case you’re wondering whether or not the 0-5 road record is beginning to bother the injury-plagued Utah Jazz.
Well, it’s not. At least on the surface it isn’t.
Behind closed doors could be a different story, but if you want to know just ask Derrick Favors.
“No pressure,” Favors said. “We’ve just got to keep playing as a team and we’ll get it.”
Former Jazzman Trevor Booker’s matchup against Favors will be something to watch when the teams compete. Booker missed four games with a sore lower back, but made his first start in Tuesday’s 109-102 loss to Boston with 12 points and eight rebounds in 28 minutes.
Favors is filling in at center for Gobert as he nurses a knee injury. He went off for a season-high 24 points and 12 rebounds against Brooklyn in their last meeting. Favors has grabbed at least 10 rebounds in Utah’s last three games, with two swats per game during that stretch.
Utah will have to bring its A-game even with the depleted lineup.
“They have an identity and I think that’s a really important thing for a team, especially a young team, to know kind of what you are and what you want to accomplish,” Snyder said. “I think that lets a team get better and they’ve done that.”