SALT LAKE CITY (AP) Rodney Hood is hopeful he will play when the Utah Jazz return from the All-Star break against the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday night.
Hood has been out with a lateral collateral ligament sprain and bone contusion in his right knee since Feb. 1. He practiced Wednesday for the first time since getting hurt but said he’s still not where he wants to be.
”The goal was to shoot for Milwaukee, but … I have to see how my knee reacts to it and see how it works tomorrow,” Hood said. ”I want to play that first game, but it’s still not set in stone.
”I’ve just got to be smart so I don’t keep going back and forth with it.”
The starting guard has averaged 13.7 points over 40 games. The Jazz miss his outside shooting and playmaking ability.
Hood explained that different movements bother the knee, particularly cutting from side-to-side. Swelling is the biggest concern, but that hasn’t been an issue recently. The team will see how the joint reacts to Hood’s first full practice.
”He didn’t do everything, but looked comfortable,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. ”Part of it for us is we’ll see how he feels tomorrow and continue to take it on a day-by-day basis and hopefully he’ll be ready to go by the time we play Milwaukee.”
Snyder said Wednesday was the first time every player on the roster practiced in the same session. The Jazz have been ravaged by injuries this season with Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, George Hill and Hood all missing significant time. That’s every starter except for Rudy Gobert.
The Jazz start the final stretch of the season with a 35-22 record and a half-game behind the Clippers for the No. 4 spot in the Western Conference. Utah hasn’t made the playoffs since the 2011-12 season.