SALT LAKE CITY — Al Jefferson acted coy and joked when asked about getting injured this morning at the Utah Jazz’s shootaround.The Jazz center might have really needed to use the restroom, as he told reporters was the case. But he also re-injured his right ankle, which bothered him earlier this season.
The inflamed right ankle will force him to sit out tonight’s game against Toronto. Second-year big man Derrick Favors will start in his place.
“It doesn’t look too good for him right now,” Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. “He’s having some pain in his ankle.”
Jefferson tried to see if extra tape would allow him to play on the injured ankle, which bothered him enough that he missed the Jazz home-opener on Dec. 30 against Philly.Favors excelled the last time he started for Jefferson, registering season-highs in scoring (20) and rebounding (11) as Utah beat the Sixers 102-99.
“I’m starting tonight?” Favors asked when questioned about his return to the first five. “You never know when your number’s going to be called, so it means you’ve just got to be ready.”
This morning, Corbin confirmed that Jefferson left shootaround early for an unspecified issue with his leg, but Jefferson pleaded ignorance to the query.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said.
No leg issue?
“No,” he said. “I’m good.”
No other body parts injured?
“No,” he replied, laughing. “Everything’s good with me.”
Jefferson then gave this explanation to the situation.
“I just had to use the restroom. … I should’ve went before — my mom always told me to go to the bathroom before,” Jefferson said, chuckling. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to give y’all any false hope about me being hurt. I’m good.”
Jefferson then added one parting joke.
“You all should be investigative reporters,” he said.
Utah (10-5) is looking for its 12th victory in a row over Toronto (5-13). The Jazz bigs have their hands full with returned forward/post Andrea Bargnani, who scored 36 points in the Raptors’ 99-96 win at Phoenix on Tuesday. Toronto had lost eight straight prior to that, including all six with Bargnani out with a calf injury.