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Sloan won't use injuries as excuse

Even at the tail end of a here-we-go-again game for the Jazz, coach Jerry Sloan refused to bemoan injuries.

"We can't worry about guys getting hurt," he said. "The other guys are supposed to step up and play."

Except for 33-point scorer Mehmet Okur, however, the rest mostly did not play in Utah's 103-98 loss Saturday at Chicago.

At least not very well.

Getting them to as the Jazz head into a back-to-back set tonight at the Delta Center vs. New York and Tuesday at Sacramento, though, may be an easier task than getting them to get over the club's suddenly-so-similar-to-last season injury woes.

Starting small forward Andrei Kirilenko sprained his right ankle in Saturday's second quarter. He is doubtful for tonight, and expected to be out 1-to-2 weeks.

Rookie point guard Deron Williams also sprained his right ankle Saturday, and he is questionable for tonight.

Matt Harpring, who sat out Saturday to rest his surgically repaired right knee, is expected to return tonight, but fellow forward Carlos Boozer remains doubtful with a strained left hamstring that has had him out all season.

The Kirilenko injury seemed to hit hardest Saturday.

"Andrei's big for us," Okur said of Kirilenko, the NBA's leading shot-blocker a season ago. "He's everywhere on the floor, you know?

"But we've got to play without whoever's out," Okur added. "You've got to play that way."

The Jazz should know.

With Kirilenko missing 41 games and Boozer 31 in 2004-05, the Jazz spent much of the last season doing just that.

"Andrei's definitely a big part of this team, and we miss him when he's not out there," Williams said. "But we've got to go on fighting without him."

Just how long remains to be seen.

Jazz trainer Gary Briggs called the sprain "mild-to-moderate."

"I think I'll be alright in a week," Kirilenko said.

"We'll see how he responds," Briggs said.


E-mail: tbuckley@desnews.com