2018 Playoffs | Western Conference Semifinals: Rockets (1) vs. Jazz (5)

Dante Exum, Derrick Favors join Utah Jazz's growing list of injury concerns

First, no Ricky Rubio. Then, a gimpy Derrick Favors. Finally, a hopping Dante Exum.

Some NBA playoff teams lose in full, all the king’s horses and all the king’s men eliminated at once by a superior team. The Utah Jazz are at risk of going down in pieces, losing what for them might feel like a war of attrition against the Houston Rockets, with Game 5 set for Tuesday (8 p.m. ET Tuesday on TNT).

Rubio hasn’t played yet in the Rockets series, nursing a left hamstring strain that actually might have healed enough for Game 5. Favors, who suffered a sprained left ankle in Game 4, gutted through a limited 16 minutes, managing five points and one rebound off the bench while yielding his starting spot to Jae Crowder.

Now it’s Dante Exum, the reserve guard quickly hobbled off the court in the third quarter with what was diagnosed as left hamstring soreness. It cost the Jazz a valuable contributor, even though Houston largely was in control in the 100-87 victory in Salt Lake City.

Mike Sorensen of The Deseret News chronicled the Jazz’s latest setback:

Exum, who had played just 17 minutes total in the Oklahoma City series, entered the game less than three minutes into the game for Royce O’Neale and scored consecutive Jazz baskets, first on a drive from the left side and then one from the right. Later in the quarter after making a free throw, he again made consecutive baskets for the Jazz on a floater with his left hand and another drive up the right side.

Exum didn’t get back into the game until midway through the third quarter, but this time he only lasted a little over a minute before coming down wrong on his leg while running the baseline. He went off the court briefly, came back on limping and then fired up a 3-point shot before waving himself out of the game.

“One thing I respect about him is most guys would have fallen to the floor and stop playing, but he took the three right after that,” said Donovan Mitchell. “That’s the type of kid he is. We fed off his energy in the first half. He’s a tough kid and I’m really proud of the way he played.”

Favors just smiled and said, “Good,” when asked how his ankle felt during the game and afterwards.

“It was good, I was fighting through it, I didn’t want to complain about it, but it’s good,” he said. “Every team goes through it, we can’t use that as an excuse. Everybody’s banged up, hamstring, ankle, knee, whatever it is, we just try to play through it as much as we can.”

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