After 16-game absence, Derrick Favors returns to Jazz rotation Monday

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The last time Derrick Favors stepped on a basketball court for the Utah Jazz, Santa Clause had yet to get in his sleigh, and Utah was on track to become a playoff team.

That was 16 games ago, before back problems flared up (for Favors, not Santa). Favors — who had been playing at a near All-Star level scoring 16.8 points and grabbing 6.8 rebounds a game — returns to the Jazz rotation on Monday night against Detroit.

Favors is expected to come off the bench and play limited minutes as he works his way back into shape.

The Jazz went 7-9 without him, also having to deal with injuries to Rudy Gobert and Alec Burks in that window. Utah is only one game back of Sacramento, the current eight seed in the West, and the Jazz are starting to get healthy. We’ll see if they can make a push back into the postseason picture.