Jazz Prepare For Conley’s return, Utilize Practice In Extra Time Off
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Jazz have enjoyed a rare three days off between games over the weekend. The Jazz defeated the Golden State Warriors Friday night at home, and won’t play again until they host the Orlando Magic Tuesday night in Utah. The stretch is one of three such breaks granted to the Jazz throughout the season, not including the team’s eight-day February break over All-Star Weekend.
The Jazz took Saturday off from practice, before back-to-back practice days as they prepare for the Magic, potentially with starting point guard Mike Conley back in the lineup.
“We got to have a day off which was nice, then two good days of practice,” Jazz forward Joe Ingles said, “We’ve had two practices to get more connected on court, to have Mike [Conley] out there a little bit and get him back involved, it’s been good.”
Conley has missed the previous five games as he rehabs from a hamstring injury suffered in the Jazz road loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on December 2.
While the team has yet to provide an update on Conley’s status ahead of Tuesday’s game, Jazz coach Quin Snyder spoke about pending Conley’s return.
“I mean, Mike Conley helps, that kind of goes without saying. His presence can impact the game in a lot of ways, we’ve just got to be more consistent as a group,” Snyder said.
“A player of Mike’s caliber helps, it’s another guy that has an opportunity to play minutes. Other guys that are playing heavy minutes play a little less and can play with more focus and energy if they’re playing less minutes.”
The Jazz have a record of 12-9 in Conley’s 21 games this season, and have maintained a healthy 3-2 record over the previous five games without their starting point guard. Despite the success, the Jazz are anxious to get the veteran back.
“He’s a big part of our team and what we’re going to do,” Ingles said, “A lot of times since he’s been out that we probably could have used him and looked to him for more offense and that leadership on court that he automatically brings.”
Snyder spoke on the importance of utilizing the team’s extra time off to prepare for the rest of the season.
“Having a day off is a big thing, you go through a season and you rarely get more than one day off at a given time and even on those days most guys are coming in and getting treatment, so there’s a mental component to having a lockout day,” Snyder said.
“For our group right now, even though we’re a good chunk into the year we’re still forming the habits that we need to win on both ends of the court.”
The Orlando Magic come into Salt Lake with a 12-14 record and hold the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. The Magic are just 4-8 in away games this season.
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