Conley, Gay Back At Practice For The Utah Jazz

Dec 5, 2022, 12:41 PM | Updated: 4:03 pm
Mike Conley - Utah Jazz - Portland Trail Blazers...
Mike Conley # 11 of the Utah Jazz drives to the basket past Nassir Little # 9 and Anfernee Simons # 1 of the Portland Trail Blazers during the first half at Moda Center on December 29, 2021 in Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Soobum Im/Getty Images)
(Photo by Soobum Im/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Jazz got welcome news on Monday as both Mike Conley and Rudy Gay returned to practice.

Conley suffered a popliteus strain in his left knee in the Jazz win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday, November 19, and hasn’t seen the floor in the team’s last eight games.

Gay sprained the third MCP joint on his left hand on November 13 against the Philadelphia 76ers and has missed the last 11 games.

Jazz Have Missed Conley

The Jazz are in the midst of a rare three-day break from games after falling to the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday night.

It was obvious in the loss to Portland just how badly Conley was missed.

Over the final minute of the fourth quarter, the Jazz were outscored 6-0 and committed four turnovers without their primary ballhandler, eventually falling 116-111.

Throughout Conley’s absence, the Jazz struggled to close games, suffering losses in five contests that were decided by nine points or fewer.

The Jazz were 0-5 immediately following Conley’s injury but had won two straight games before Saturday’s loss.

The guard detailed his process returning to the floor after practice on Monday.

“Each days getting better, today was the first time practicing with contact and stuff,” Conley said. “The last week or so it’s been kind of transitioning from walking, to jogging, to running.”

Conley was averaging 10.2 points, 2.4 rebounds, 7.9 assists, 0.3 blocks, and 1.2 steals in 29.2 minutes per game for the Jazz before the injury.

The Jazz will practice again Tuesday before deciding on whether Conley is ready to return to the floor on Wednesday.

Gay Brings Veteran Leadership Off Bench

The Jazz also welcomed Gay back to practice after missing the team’s last 11 games with a finger injury.

Gay returned to portions of practice last week and his availability was listed as “as tolerable” due to pain and swelling.

The veteran forward had been a regular off the Jazz bench this season averaging 4.5 points and 3.4 rebounds in 15.8 minutes per contest.

Despite Gay’s modest numbers, he leads the Jazz in plus-minus this season. The Jazz have been 5.7 points per game better than their opponents with Gay on the floor.

The team is 4-7 in Gay’s absence.

The Jazz will retake the floor on Wednesday night against the Golden State Warriors, before hosting Rudy Gobert and the Minnesota Timberwolves to wrap up their six-game home stand.

The veteran said he would shoot for a return on Wednesday.

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Conley, Gay Back At Practice For The Utah Jazz