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JAZZ FINISH UNEVENTFUL TRAINING CAMP

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Ending what has been a colossally uneventful week, the Utah Jazz closed out training camp Friday morning at Westminster College, grateful to soon be playing against someone other than themselves.

In coachspeak, the end of camp means, as Coach Jerry Sloan puts it, "a chance to see some fresh meat."The Jazz broke camp after Friday morning's practice session and were scheduled to depart in the afternoon for Sacramento, where they will open the exhibition season on Saturday night against the Kings.

The end of camp comes none too soon for Jazz players, especially the veterans. After two practices a day for a week, they are ready to line up against someone who doesn't know their moves by rote. "You have a week to work on things and that's good," said guard Jeff Malone. "But you get itchy to play somebody."

Malone has, naturally, enjoyed his training camp considerably more this year than last. A year ago he was a first-year Jazzman, learning a different system and acclimating himself to new teammates and a new city. "Last year," says Malone, "I was under a microscope. Now I know the guys, the system, I'm more relaxed and have a lot more confidence."

By most standards, this year's camp has been as exciting as stale bread. As Sloan puts it, "It's quiet as a mouse around here." There have been few injuries - none major - and all the players are signed to contracts. Guard Delaney Rudd injured his left leg in practice on Thursday, but early indications were that he simply had a strained hamstring. He said Thursday night he expects to make the trip to Sacramento. Meanwhile, forward Walter Palmer said his hamstring injury is feeling better by the day. Palmer has yet to practice with the team this fall.

Sloan said he feels good about how his camp went. The team took Wednesday off, but returned for a hard Thursday practice, after which Sloan said, "From a coaching standpoint, that's exciting."

He added that, "these guys have always done about what you asked them."

One thing the Jazz coach isn't excited about, though, is the condition of rookie Isaac Austin. The Arizona State player has had a history of weight problems, and that apparently continues.

"My concern (with Austin) is his weight problem," Sloan told reporters Thursday. "I don't know if he'll ever make it because of his weight. He's got to decide for himself. He couldn't play in an NBA game right now. Skill-wise, he can do some things. But what's he going to do? I can't eat for him."