Sunday, April 18, 2010
Mehmet Okur out for the season
By Kevin Arnovitz
DENVER -- The Utah Jazz have lost Mehmet Okur for the remainder of the playoffs. The veteran starting center tore his left Achilles tendon Saturday night when he slipped on a drive to the hole in the second quarter of the Jazz's loss last night to Denver. Okur underwent an MRI on Sunday morning, which revealed the tear. Utah general manager Kevin O'Connor addressed the media and Okur's timetable for recovery.
"The cookie cutter answer is anywhere from three months to start back on the court to four to six months," O'Connor said.
Okur had been suffering from Achilles tendinitis, and prior to Saturday night's game, he received a numbing injection in the Achilles area. O'Connor made a repeated point of saying that the shot had nothing to do with Okur's injury.
"We would never put a player in a compromising position," O'Connor said. "If there was any indication that the shot would've masked anything or done anything like that, we would have never done that. We've never put a game ahead of a player."
The mood at the Jazz's practice Sunday afternoon at the Pepsi Center was glum. Teammates, staff and those who cover the team regard Okur as an accessible, kind player.
The basketball ramifications are also devastating to the squad. How is Utah able to move so fluidly in the half court? It has a lot to do with Okur's shooting prowess from the perimeter. As a threat from beyond the arc, Okur is able to drag opposing bigs out of the paint, where so much of Utah's flex action occurs. Those cuts, back screens and slips will be a lot tougher for Utah to execute with a front line of, say, Carlos Boozer and Paul Millsap, or Boozer and Kyrylo Fesenko, none of whom demand attention 23 feet away from the basket.