Photos by Logan Riely/NBAE via Getty Images
Jazz Near Full Strength Ahead of Tonight's Game with New Orleans
For the first time this preseason, Utah is expected to have its stars out on the court together when they host the New Orleans Pelicans at 7 p.m.
With seven core players missing the game last week against the Dallas Mavericks, it appears that the Utah Jazz will be fully loaded—or as close as possible—when they host the New Orleans Pelicans tonight.
First preseason home game!
— utahjazz (@utahjazz) October 11, 2021
Due to rest, Mike Conley, Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert, and Joe Ingles were all on the sidelines against the Mavericks. Hassan Whiteside (left heel soreness), Bojan Bogdanovic (right shoulder soreness), and Rudy Gay (right heel surgery) were all out due to injury.
“I hate sitting out, obviously,” Ingles said. “But again, with the medical team and coach and all that, they have a plan. … They know a lot more about that stuff than I do, so whatever they say goes. It was nice to watch the guys play as well and still be around the team, but obviously being out there is very different.”
Head coach Quin Snyder said that both Ingles and Gobert missed the first two preseason games due to rest. They played deep into the summer with their respective nations, each winning a medal at the 2020 Summer Olympics.
But now, everyone is back and expected to play—except for Gay, who will miss the rest of the preseason recovering from offseason heel surgery.
According to Ingles, the return of everyone to the court comes at a perfect time. The past couple of practices have been very physical, with the team beating up on one another, so it’ll be nice for them to face an opponent.
“It’s obviously nice to know who we are playing and not beating [each other] up at practice all the time,” Ingles said with a laugh. “With our team bringing the majority of us back as well, obviously similar things we are going to play the same way in a lot of areas, but you’ll see some new things as well.”
While it’s nice to see everyone back on the court, the return of Bogdanovic is a welcome sight to both the team and the fanbase.
He missed the first two preseason games and was slightly limited in practice while dealing with right shoulder soreness. And this came on the heels of suffering a wrist injury in 2020, one that required surgery and never allowed him to feel entirely comfortable on the court this past year.
But now he feels as if the wrist is a full-go, and although not fully recovered from the shoulder soreness, it feels good enough to be out on the court.
“I’m excited for the season. … It feels good to be back,” Bogdanovic said. “I feel great obviously. I’m healthy so it’s good for me to also play these two games to get my cardio and my game back. … I know I won’t be pretty probably because I didn’t play for awhile, but that’s why we are playing preseason games to get ready for the important stuff."
Despite the Jazz being near full strength tonight, the Pelicans will be without their two biggest stars. Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram will not be playing tonight, which should allow Utah to find its rhythm early on.
Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. and will be broadcast on AT&T SportsNet.
*Rudy Gay: OUT — right heel surgery
New Orleans Pelicans
*Jaxson Hayes: OUT — left ankle sprain
*Brandon Ingram: OUT — right knee soreness
*Zion Williamson: OUT — right foot surgery
Time: 7 p.m. MST
Location: Vivint Arena / Salt Lake City, UT
TV: AT&T SportsNet
Radio: 1280 The Zone