UTAH JAZZ

Shaq Harrison Broke Hand Being Defended By James Harden

Dec 11, 2020, 2:04 PM
Shaq Harrison drives against the Phoenix Suns (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)...
Shaq Harrison drives against the Phoenix Suns (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Though Shaq Harrison was in attendance at Utah Jazz practice for the first time Friday, the fourth-year guard was unable to participate in full team activities. Harrison is still recovering from a hand injury he suffered while defending Houston Rockets superstar James Harden.

Harrison said the two players were practicing in Las Angeles during an offseason pickup game when the injury occurred.

“I was cutting backdoor, and actually James Harden was guarding me,” Harrison said. “It happened so fast I’m not sure what body part it hit of his. But I was reaching towards the ball and my hand somehow got bent back It was just a freak accident.”

The new Jazz guard said his hand is out of a cast, but the team is being cautious about his return.

“I’m very close,” Harrison said about his return. “My timetable isn’t for sure when I’m playing, but as of right now, I’m working out without my cast and it’s been like that for three days.”

The Jazz will host their preseason opener Saturday night against the Phoenix Suns, but coaches haven’t elaborated on who they expect to see the floor.

“My hand feels good,’ Harrison said. “No pain, we’re just taking it slow and making sure we do it the proper way so we don’t have to start the process over if it gets broken again.”

Harrison’s Role with the Jazz

While Harrison’s debut with the Jazz remains in question, his role on the team does not. The big-bodied guard has earned his reputation as a defender and that’s how the coaching staff plans to use him.

“You know that he can defend and defend the ball,” Coach Quin Snyder said Thursday. “He’s got physicality, and I think when you see a guy that can bring that, I’m excited for our staff and myself to have a chance to work with him.”

Harrison said the Jazz conveyed a similar message to him when he decided to sign with the team earlier this week.

“They want me to come in and do me,” Harrison said. “Come and be that guy, the defender. Be vocal on this team and bring the energy.”

The guard averages an impressive 1.1 steals per game during his three-year career, despite playing just 16.5 minutes per night.

The Jazz ranked last in the league in steals per game during the 2019-20 season at just 6.1 per outing. Harrison’s Chicago Bulls teams led the league with 10 steals per night.

“They don’t want me to come in here and try to be Superman or whatever the case may be,” Harrison said of his new role with the Jazz. “They just love what I do, and I love what I do as well.”

The Jazz and Suns tipoff on Saturday at 7 pm MT on AT&T SportsNet.

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Shaq Harrison Broke Hand Being Defended By James Harden