All Three Jazz Rookies Healthy After Difficult Summer

Oct 2, 2023, 2:58 PM | Updated: Oct 3, 2023, 1:12 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – After dealing with various injuries over the summer, all three Utah Jazz rookies are healthy and excited to begin their NBA careers.

Keyonte George was the only Jazz first-round pick to see the floor during the NBA Summer League, but his playing time was cut short due to a severely rolled ankle in Las Vegas.

Taylor Hendricks was hampered by a hamstring injury and missed all of the summer league, while Brice Sensabaugh was sidelined by an off-season knee surgery.

With all three rookies cleared to take the floor during training camp, here’s what the new Jazz youngsters had to say at media day.


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Hendricks Narrowly Missed Summer League

Though he was limited to individual drills during the summer league, Hendricks said he was cleared to resume full on-court activities shortly after the Jazz were eliminated.

“I’d say like a week or two after summer league I was fully healthy,” Hendricks admitted.

The ninth overall pick out of Central Florida returned to Orlando for a week during the summer but said he spent most of the summer in Salt Lake City working on his game.

“[I’m] just playing my role, not being too worried about how many minutes I play,” Hendricks said of how he’s approached his first training camp in Utah.”Trying to help the team win.”

At just 19-years-0ld, Hendricks game as a long way to go before he reaches his peak, but early returns have reportedly been promising.

The rookie has drawn praise for his activity and shot-making during open gym workouts with the Jazz, mirroring his contributions as a breakout one-and-done star in college.

Hendricks averaged 15.1 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.4 assists, and 1.7 blocks at UCF while shooting 47 percent from the floor and 39 percent from three.

George Among Jazz Rookies Learning From Vets

George was the only Jazz rookie to take part in Summer League, and before suffering a grizzly ankle injury, looked poised to take home MVP honors.

The Baylor product averaged 21.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, and six assists while shooting 46 percent from the floor and 38 percent from three in five appearances before his injury.

Those who have seen George since returning from injury have praised his play in open gym, while the rookie has taken advantage of the opportunity to learn from Jazz veterans during the team’s offseason workouts.

“I’ve been able to talk to Collin [Sexton], Talen [Horton-Tucker], and even KD — Kris Dunn,” George said. “Collin has been telling me to stay in attack mode, he stays in attack mode the whole time.”

While Sexton has helped George on the floor, Horton-Tucker has helped guide the rookie elsewhere.

“THT’s done a really great job of continuing to support me day in and day out, even if it’s just little stuff on the court or off the court.”

Finally, George noted he’s already begun film work with Dunn, even before their first preseason game.

“He’s been defending at a high level for a very long time, and that’s what he’s great at.” George recognized. “Even looking at the film from open gym, seeing how he can guard me see and how he is at times pushing me off my line.”

Sensabaugh Working On NBA Body

Had it not been for a season-ending knee injury at Ohio State, there’s almost no chance Sensabaugh would have been on the board when the Jazz were selecting at 28.

After rehabbing his knee throughout the summer, Sensabaugh has been participating in open gym for the Jazz where his natural scoring prowess has reportedly translated well.

The big-bodied guard carried a big offensive load in college averaging 16.3 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 1.2 assists while shooting 48 percent from the floor and 40 percent from three, but will likely have a reduced role in the NBA.

“Last year I was a little bit more high volume,” Sensabaugh said of his scoring opportunities with the Buckeyes, “but I don’t mind taking a step back at all if it means winning games.”

Staying healthy will be key for Sensabaugh’s development, and one key area he’s looking to improve is his body.

“I’ve slimmed down a lot since I got here,” Sensabaugh said of Utah. ” I’m not too worried about my weight to be honest, but I’m just worried about feeling good.”

The three Jazz rookies could see their first NBA minutes when they face the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday at 7 pm MST in Hawaii. The game will be televised on KJZZ, streamed on Jazz+, and can be heard on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone.

Download the new & improved KSL Sports app from Utah’s sports leader. You can stream live radio, video and stay up to date on all of your favorite teams.

Ben Anderson is the Utah Jazz insider for KSL Sports and the co-host of Jake and Ben from 10-12p with Jake Scott on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone. Find Ben on Twitter at @BensHoops or on Instagram @BensHoops.

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All Three Jazz Rookies Healthy After Difficult Summer