The 18-8 Utah Jazz will get better tonight. Soon that may be significantly better.
Center Mehmet Okur — out since rupturing his Achilles tendon in the first game of the playoffs last season — will suit up and come off the bench for the Jazz tonight, the team announced at shoot around this morning. Not a lot, just 5 or 10 minutes off the bench, but he will play.
Okur brings floor spacing, a deadly pick-and-pop game, and rebounding. He joins Paul Millsap, Al Jefferson and Andrei Kirilenko to make one of the better front lines in the league and one with a lot of versatility. Jerry Sloan likes versatility. Oh, the Jazz have that Deron Williams guy too, I hear he’s pretty good.
The Jazz are good without him, with Okur they move up a notch. Probably not “beat a healthy Lakers team in a seven game series” notch, but you can bet the Mavericks and Spurs would like to avoid them for as long as possible.
Dwight Howard played through torn MCL and meniscus in playoffs
Dwight Howard hasn’t exactly been healthy in recent years. He missed half of last season with various injuries, including a two-month stretch from January to March after undergoing a knee procedure. On Thursday, he told a Houston radio station that the knee problems continued after that, and he had torn ligaments and cartilage during the Rockets’ Western Conference Finals series against the Warriors:
Dwight Howard just told us on Texans Radio that he played through a torn MCL and meniscus during the WCF vs the Warriors
It’s a little alarming that we didn’t hear about this until now. Sometimes these injuries can heal without surgery, but Howard can become a free agent next summer, so you would think he would want to get any lingering issues addressed ahead of time. Considering his age (he’ll be 30 in December) and his injury history, this isn’t a great sign. A healthy Howard is the difference between the Rockets being a legitimate title contender and an als0-ran, so hopefully these problems are behind him and he can stay healthy this season.
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