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Ostertag listed day-to-day

CHARLOTTE — An MRI exam performed Sunday morning on Jazz starting center Greg Ostertag's right knee proved negative, the Jazz said Sunday.

Ostertag flew with the Jazz on Sunday for the first leg of a four-game Eastern road swing that opens tonight in Charlotte, and the team is calling his availability status "day-to-day."

Ostertag was injured pulling down a rebound in the second minute of Saturday's Delta Center loss to Phoenix, and sat out the remainder of the game.

Torn cartilage initially was feared, but on Sunday Jazz trainer Gary Briggs suggested the MRI showed only a sound knee with 10 seasons' worth of expected NBA wear.

Ostertag was able to move the knee well Sunday, and swelling was at minimum. If all goes well at this morning's shoot-around, Briggs said, it is likely Ostertag will be cleared to play against the Bobcats.

Ostertag was replaced immediately in the Suns game by forward Kris Humphries, but big man Jarron Collins started the second half in Ostertag's place.

Humphries finished with five rebounds and eight points in 12 minutes, and Collins had five rebounds but was scoreless while playing 16 minutes in the 97-88 Jazz loss.

SHOOT LESS, PLAY MORE: Humphries has played just 25 minutes over three games this season, yet he has managed to take 11 shots from the field — five of which have fallen.

His 4-of-5 shooting against Phoenix came on the heels of a 0-for-4 night in eight minutes Friday at Golden State, prompting Jazz coach Jerry Sloan to suggest the 2004 lottery pick still is a bit trigger-happy in his second NBA season.

"Kris," Sloan said after Saturday's loss, "has got to learn . . . he can't shoot every time he touches it."

MANNION IN, EATON OUT: Former Jazz swingman Pace Mannion has replaced ex-Jazz center Mark Eaton as a studio host for the 40 Jazz games being carried this season by KJZZ-TV.

Mannion, who previously co-hosted an afternoon sports-talk show on KZN 1280-AM, has assumed Eaton's place alongside Steve Brown and Thurl Bailey on KJZZ's pre-game, halftime and post-game set.

A University of Utah product, Mannion played 91 games for the Jazz over two seasons from 1984-86.

Jazz broadcasting senior vice president Randy Rigby cited "other commitments" as the reason for Eaton's departure.

The hire of Mannion, Rigby added, follows in the tradition of employing ex-Jazz players like Bailey and Eaton for broadcast responsibilities.

COMCASTED OUT: Tonight's game at Charlotte marks the first of 13 this season that will be broadcast by Fox Sports Net Utah but not picked up by local cable provider Comcast.

Rigby said both the Dish Network and DirectTV have now signed on to pick up the 13-game premium package being sold by FSN Utah, and that Comcast remains the lone holdout.

As a result of Comcast's decision, FSN is hosting viewing parties beginning at 5:30 (mountain time) tonight at both Lumpy's on W. Pierpont Ave. and at SkyBox Sports Grille on S. Rio Grande St.

TOO FLAGRANT: According to an ESPN.com report over the weekend, Dallas All-Star Dirk Nowitzki's flagrant-1 foul against Jazz forward Matt Harpring during Utah's win over the Mavericks last Wednesday has been upgraded by the NBA to a flagrant-2.

The league rulebook describes a flagrant-2 foul as "unnecessary and aggressive."

Nowitzki and Harpring became entangled in the Jazz's season-opening game, and Nowitzki reacted by flailing both arms to move Harpring away.

The flagrant-2 costs Nowitzki two penalty points, with five resulting in an automatic one-game suspension. It also carries an automatic $1,000 fine. Had a flagrant-2 rather than a flagrant-1 initially been called, Nowitzki also would have been automatically ejected from Wednesday's game.


E-mail: tbuckley@desnews.com