PORTLAND, Ore. — Back for a few days now from a hamstring injury that cost him an appearance in last Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game, Portland guard Brandon Roy will play when the Jazz visit the Trail Blazers in an ESPN-televised game tonight.
But the Jazz caught Portland without Roy, and have caught San Antonio without Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili and Denver without All-Stars Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups and New Orleans without All-Star Chris Paul also this season, just to name a few.
That in mind, coach Jerry Sloan realizes how lucky the Jazz have been this season.
Backup small forward C.J. Miles (thumb) and backup shooting guard Kyle Korver both underwent preseason surgery, and backup Ronnie Price missed 15 games with an early season foot injury.
Starting power forward Carlos Boozer missed a few games with a calf strain, starting small forward Andrei Kirilenko missed a half-dozen with a sore back, starting center Mehmet Okur lost a few to the flu and two (including tonight’s) to the birth of a baby and Deron Williams missed one with a wrist injury that lingered even when he was playing (and a few more for family-related reasons).
But there’s been no catastrophic, long-term All-Star type injuries, something Sloan knows comes with a hefty price.
“We’re a fragile team, like a lot of teams,” he said before Sunday’s game at Portland. “If something goes wrong, it’s tough to be able to have a chance to win.
“When John (Stockton) and Karl (Malone) were here, they didn’t miss games. … But we’d play against teams that had guys hurt, and it was an advantage for us, because we had players were together.
“I realize how difficult it is,” Sloan added. “I mean, we’ve had situations where guys have been hurt — and it’s tough to win.”
Then again, he added as well, “It’s tough to win when guys are healthy.”