Jazz’s Rudy Gobert out indefinitely with MCL sprain

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Jazz center Rudy Gobert is quietly one of the NBA’s top young players.

But Utah will have to do without him for a while.

Jazz release:

After sustaining a left knee injury during today’s practice at Zions Bank Basketball Center, Gobert underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) this afternoon at University of Utah Health Care’s Orthopaedic Center. Following the examination, Jazz physicians Dr. Travis Maak and Dr. David Petron determined that Gobert suffered a Grade II sprain of the medial collateral ligament (MCL) in his left knee.

No surgery is required and Gobert will be out indefinitely.

How long will Gobert be sidelined? Every individual handles injuries differently, but we can at least estimate.

Ben Wedro of MD Direct:

Medial collateral ligament tears used to be treated with surgery but non operative treatment is found to be more successful. Grade 1 and 2 sprains often heal well enough in 1-2 weeks to allow return to play

The 8-8 Jazz are one of several teams on the playoff bubble in the Western Conference. Losing Gobert will significantly change their identity on both ends of the court.

Gobert is an excellent finisher who forces defenses to account for him, opening space for his teammates. He’s an even better rim-protector, the heart of Utah’s defensive philosophy.

More than just losing a player of his talent, the Jazz lose chemistry.

Utah’s most-used lineup – Raul Neto, Rodney Hood, Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors and Gobert – has played nearly three times as much as any other five-man unit. But the other four have played just 18 minutes together without Gobert.

Trevor Booker and Trey Lyles have each played seven of those minutes – both to disastrous results, though major sample-size caveats apply.

Booker and Lyles will both probably play more now, and Derrick Favors could see more minutes at center. Jeff Withey could slide into the rotation, too. Hayward and Joe Ingles could also get minutes as stretch fours.

But more than anyone, Gobert – with his size and interior ability – make the Jazz who they are. They’ve outscored opponents by 4.8 points per 100 possessions with him on the floor and gotten outscored by 4.9 per 100 without him.

It won’t be easy without his production, especially as Utah faces an adjustment in style while he’s sidelined.