The Utah Jazz are currently tied for the last two playoff slots in the Western Conference, the 7/8 seeds, with the Dallas Mavericks (both teams are 38-38). Both are one game ahead of the Houston Rockets.
While playoff prediction sites like the Jazz’s chances — fivethirtyeight.com has them at 89 percent to make the playoffs because of an easier schedule than their competitors — Utah could use any boost it can get.
Like maybe getting guard Alec Burks back from a broken leg sooner than expected. He could be back this week, reports the Salt Lake Tribune’s Tony Jones.
Barring a setback, injured Utah Jazz shooting guard Alec Burks will make his return to the lineup as early as Tuesday night against the San Antonio Spurs, league sources tell The Salt Lake Tribune….
The Jazz have been cautious with his return, wanting to make sure he is 100 percent healthy and that there is no risk of re-injury. He’s been slowly doing more from a basketball standpoint, and recently has been playing full contact 3-on-3 in a half-court setting.
My man, Jody Genessy of the Deseret News (check out our podcast), was a little more cautious.
Burks will be on a minutes limit at first when he does return, but any minutes he can give Utah at the guard spot would be good ones — this is a team that traded for Atlanta’s third-string point guard Shelvin Mack and then started him and gave him heavy minutes because they are so banged up in the backcourt. Before he got injured Burks averaged 14.3 points a contest (third on the team) and was shooting 38.7 percent from three.
If the Jazz can get Burks back this week, it would be a boost, both on the court and emotionally for the young team trying to make the playoffs for the first time since 2012.