Monday’s showdown between the Jazz and Suns wound up missing several key figures on both sides.
The Jazz were hit hardest in the injury report, with reigning Kia Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert not playing in the 115-109 Phoenix win because of a left calf strain. In addition, starting guards Mike Conley (rest) and Donovan Mitchell (concussion protocol) were also out as was starting forward Bojan Bogadnovic (left finger strain).
Joe Ingles (right ankle sprain) and Royce O’Neale (right knee tendonitis) were late scratches as well.
*OUT – Bojan Bogdanovic (Left Finger Avulsion Fracture)
*OUT – Joe Ingles (Right Ankle Sprain)
*OUT – Royce O’Neale (Right Knee Tendonitis)
OUT – Mike Conley (Right Knee Injury Maintenance) https://t.co/hA4hygYwlU
— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) January 25, 2022
Gobert exited Sunday’s game against the Golden State Warriors with a calf injury with 2 1/2 minutes left in that game. That limited the Jazz’s options at the close, and Golden State escaped with a 94-92 victory once Bojan Bogdanovic’s step-back 3 rimmed out as time expired.
Gobert is on the sideline and looks like he's stretching his left leg. Can't tell if it's the ankle or knee. He was experiencing some left ankle soreness the last couple days
— Sarah Todd (@NBASarah) January 24, 2022
Strained left calf for Rudy Gobert.
— Eric Walden (@tribjazz) January 24, 2022
Gobert, who recently exited the league’s Health and Safety Protocols, was questionable with left ankle soreness heading into the game. He later described the injury as feeling “like a slow tear.” The three-time Kia Defensive Player of the Year is averaging 16.1 points, 15.1 rebounds and 2.3 blocks through 41 games.
Conley is averaging 14.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 5.2 apg and 1.1 spg and has appeared in 42 of 47 games so far for the Jazz. Mitchell has not played since a Jan. 17 road loss to the Los Angeles Lakers and leads the team with 25.5 ppg. Bogdanovic is enjoying a bounce-back year as a scorer (18.1 ppg) and had appeared in 46 games until being sidelined vs. Phoenix.
The Jazz are 30-17 but have lost seven of their last nine games, including two of their last three on the road. The Suns (36-9) boast the NBA’s best record and are seven games ahead of Utah for the No. 1 spot in the Western Conference.
Phoenix has also been bitten by the injury bug. In addition to lengthy recoveries for reserves Dario Saric (ACL), Frank Kaminsky (right knee), and Abdel Nader (right knee), the Suns are missing starters Deandre Ayton (right ankle sprain) and Jae Crowder (left wrist contusion) as well as backup guard Cameron Payne (right wrist sprain).
Despite Chris Paul, Devin Booker and Ayton playing just 23 games together this season, the defending Western Conference champions have won 80% of their games and are the only team in the league that has lost fewer than 10 times.