"Ready To Go" | Sexton Listed As Questionable When Utah Starts Final Homestand Against Los Angeles

Ryan Kostecka
Digital Content Writer

With Utah's playoff chances hanging by a thread, the Jazz could be getting a massive boost on Tuesday night against LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and the Los Angeles Lakers. 

After being out for the past eight weeks, Collin Section is officially listed as QUESTIONABLE on the injury report. While it's unknown if Sexton will be cleared to take the court, this is a very encouraging sign for both the Jazz and their point guard.

Sexton has been out since before the All-Star break, injuring a hamstring against Memphis on Feb. 15. Four minutes into the game and after a tough drive to the hoop, he came up hobbling — and has been out ever since. 

Sexton's left hamstring strain has been an enormous source of frustration for the point guard, which is why he's been out much longer than initially expected. The Jazz have brought him back slowly, not risking a serious injury, so he can approach this offseason fully healthy. 

"Very frustrating. … Very, very frustrating," Sexton said. "I don't want to have to ever revisit a hamstring issue. … So now we're just trying to correct everything and get everything right and moving forward. We know what works for me and works for my body so that we can make sure that we don't have to miss games moving forward."

The timing of the injury was also terrible luck, as he had officially taken over the starting role just games before disaster struck. 

Utah had just traded Mike Conley — and a slew of other players — to Minnesota as part of a three-team deal back on Feb. 8, opening up Utah's starting point guard spot. Sexton had been the team's sixth man for most of the season up to that point, but with Conley gone, he would have a more significant role. 

Over the next four games, Sexton averaged 19.3 points, 5.5 assists, and 3.3 rebounds, numbers significantly higher than his season averages up to that point.

But there were still parts of his game that he needed to work on, and serving as the team's starting point guard over the final 25+ games of the season seemed like an excellent opportunity to get those reps.

"When he's on the court playing, it's about the balancing act of attacking to score and attacking to create shots for his teammates," head coach Will Hardy said of Sexton. "That's what he's going to continue to have to work on. … It's easy for me to sit here and talk about that, but the speed with which Collin is attacking the basket and the force with which he plays, those decisions have to be made in very quick timeframes."

It's an important game for both teams battling for postseason positioning. 

Utah sits in 12th place in the standings but remains just 1.5 games out of 10th and the final play-in tournament spot. Los Angeles is in 7th place but is tied in the loss column with the 5th-place Clippers. 

A win by the Jazz keeps their slim hopes alive, while a victory for the Lakers would take them out of the play-in and into the top six. 

"We're working day and night, early in the morning, even before practice and before shootarounds to get back and also to work on my craft," Sexton said. "We've just been trying to do other things in the weight room and on the court to continue to simulate game reps so when I do come back, I can just fit right in and be ready to go. … I feel like I've gotten better even though I haven't played games."

Utah (36-42, 22-16 home / No. 12 Western Conference)
*117.1 Points Per Game (No. 6 in NBA)
*115.6 Offensive Rating (No. 8 in NBA)

*117.8 Points Per Game (No. 24 in NBA)
*116.0 Defensive Rating (No. 24 in NBA)
*Lauri Markkanen: 25.6 points | 8.6 rebounds | 1.9 assists | 39.2% 3P-shooting
*Collin Sexton: 14.3 points | 2.9 assists | 2.0 rebounds | 41.0% 3P-shooting
*Kelly Olynyk: 12.1 points | 6.1 rebounds | 3.6 assists | 38.1% 3P-shooting
*Talen Horton-Tucker (Last 10 Games): 18.8 points | 6.4 assists | 5.4 rebounds

Los Angeles (40-38, 19-20 away / No. 7 Western Conference)

*116.7 Points Per Game (No. 8 in NBA)
*113.7 Offensive Rating (No. 21 in NBA)
*116.4 Points Per Game (No. 19 in NBA)
*113.2 Defensive Rating (No. 11 in NBA)
*LeBron James: 28.8 points | 8.5 rebounds | 6.9 assists | 30.3% 3P-shooting
*Anthony Davis: 26.6 points | 12.4 rebounds | 2.5 assists | 2.0 blocks
*D’Angelo Russell: 17.1 points | 6.3 assists | 3.0 rebounds | 39.8% 3P-shooting

*Markkanen/Horton-Tucker vs. James/Davis
— With both teams battling for the playoff lives, it’s going to come down a star-studded showdown on Tuesday night. James and Davis have been stars for most of the season, and are widely considered one of the best duos in the game. But Markkanen (29) and Horton-Tucker (29.3) are combining to average just under 60 points per game over their past four games.

HOUSTON, TEXAS - JANUARY 05: Lauri Markkanen #23 high fives Talen Horton-Tucker #0 of the Utah Jazz against the Houston Rockets during the second half at Toyota Center on January 05, 2023 in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

QUESTIONABLE | Lauri Markkanen (left hand contusion)
QUESTIONABLE | Collin Sexton (left hamstring strain)
OUT | Jordan Clarkson (left hand - fourth finger sprain)
OUT | Rudy Gay (low back soreness)
OUT | Walker Kessler (concussion protocol)
Los Angeles
PROBABLE | Anthony Davis (right foot stress injury)
PROBABLE | D’Angelo Russell (left foot soreness)
QUESTIONABLE | LeBron James (right foot soreness)
OUT | Mo Bamba (left ankle sprain)
OUT | Scotty Pippen Jr. (G League - Two-Way)

 7:00 p.m. MT
Location: Vivint Arena |Salt Lake City, UT
TV: AT&T SportsNet
Radio: The Zone Sports Network