SALT LAKE CITY — It hasn't been much of a secret that Utah Jazz guard Dante Exum is getting closer to finally playing this season after injuring his shoulder during the preseason, as he has been putting in work on the court before games for quite some time.
The Australian has taken another significant step forward this week, too, as the Jazz said Thursday that he has begun participating in non-contact portions of practice.
There still is no timetable for his return, however.
The 22-year-old is in his fourth season with Utah after being selected fifth overall in the 2014 NBA Draft. He has career averages of 5.4 points, two rebounds and 1.7 assists over 148 regular-season games.
DR. DUNKENSTEIN TO VISIT UTAH: On the heels of rookie Donovan Mitchell honoring him during last weekend's slam dunk competition at NBA All-Star Weekend, former Jazz great Darrell Griffith has been the subject of a good deal of attention over the last few days.
On Thursday, the team announced that he will be in town for Friday's game as part of the alumni program that has also brought in players such as Antoine Carr, Tom Chambers, “Blue” Edwards, Andrei Kirilenko, Mehmet Okur, Felton Spencer, Bobby Hansen and Quincy Lewis make return appearances.
Most notably, Griffith will participate in a pregame recognition of Mitchell, who won the dunk contest, and will also join the Jazz's TV and radio broadcasts and host a live Q&A on Twitter.
Mitchell's trophy from the contest will be on display in the arena before the game.
INTERNATIONAL NIGHT TO BE CELEBRATED: With the additions of Ricky Rubio, Jonas Jerebko and Thabo Sefolosha this season, the Jazz have players from seven different countries.
As such, Friday's game is being billed as "International Night," and shirts with the flags of those countries will be sold at the arena.
"Being able to represent my country with not a lot of basketball players coming from there, it's amazing," said point guard Raul Neto, who hails from Brazil. "It's amazing that the team respects that, the team celebrates that. It's a great feeling just representing my country and representing international basketball, too."
Asked which shirt would sell better between the one with the Brazilian flag and the one with the French flag (for Neto's close friend, Rudy Gobert), Neto went with his home country.
"Brazil, for sure," he said. "I know there's a lot of Brazilians in Salt Lake, so I hope the Brazil shirt sells more than the French."