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Report: Dante Exum could return to Utah Jazz lineup this week

From NBA media reports

Mar 13, 2018 9:23 AM ET

Dante Exum has not played since the 2017-18 preseason.

Point guard Ricky Rubio has done the lion's share of the playmaking for the Utah Jazz this season, leading the team in assists per game (5.2), passing frequency (17.7 percent)and touches (78.2 per game). Rubio will have more of that on his plate after his backup, Raul Neto, was lost for two weeks with a left wrist fracture

Backcourt help could be on the horizon for the playoff-hopeful Jazz, though. According to Kyle Goon of The Salt Lake Tribune, former No. 5 overall pick Dante Exum could suit up this week. Exum has been out all season to recover from left shoulder surgery that took place in mid-October:

Neto’s absence leaves the Jazz short of guards: It likely places additional burden on Ricky Rubio while adding point guard responsibilities for Donovan Mitchell. It could also open up minutes for Alec Burks, who has been squeezed out of the rotation lately.

But Neto’s injury also opens the door for the possible return of Dante Exum. The fourth-year guard is still on the mend from a preseason shoulder injury, but The Salt Lake Tribune has learned that, barring a setback, Exum is expected to return to action this week.

Jazz coach Quin Snyder said Exum recently participated in contact two-on-two and three-on-three play. Exum’s comeback would bolster the Jazz’s back court and would give the former lottery pick a chance to start delivering on his considerable potential.

The Jazz assigned Exum to a rehab assignment with the team's G League affiliate, the Salt Lake City Stars, on Tuesday. In a release, the team said the stint is "part of his last stage in return to play protocol."

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