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Time in Germany helped Nelson better his game

SHARE Time in Germany helped Nelson better his game

Stronger, and minus that clunky knee brace that was a remnant from his senior year at Utah State, Spencer Nelson says playing international basketball last season made him think about his game more.

Back for his second tour with the Utah Jazz in the Rocky Mountain Revue that starts Friday, Nelson said, "I think I'm smarter. I played really well at first" with GHP Bamberg. Then other teams began scouting him better and taking away some of the things he liked to do.

"I hit a wall for a little while in trying to think the game out and trying to get around it, and eventually I feel like I did," Nelson said, "so just being to adapt to how people play me, I think I'm a better player. I needed to start looking at different alternatives. I did that, so I think I developed my game a little bit more, started to think the game a little bit more."

He became 2006 All-German Bundesliga Forward of the Year, All-German Bundesliga First Team and All-Imports Team.

SENT HOME: Center James Lang, who started his second RMR training camp Monday, was sent home to Alabama Tuesday to have his own doctors examine him.

"His blood pressure was elevated at his physical, and it has not significantly come down through these three practices, so our medical staff said he probably needs to immediately go home and have his family physician treat that," said Jazz trainer Gary Briggs Tuesday evening. "It could be as minor as losing some weight, or it could be something that needs to be medicated."

Briggs said five players had elevated blood pressure to open camp, anxiety likely being a reason, but all the others went down after some practices.

Briggs indicated Lang probably would not return during the Revue.

PRACTICE MISSED: Second-year guard Deron Williams missed Tuesday's morning practice with a stomach virus but attended the evening workout.

SIGNING DAY: Swingman Matt Harpring was to be in Salt Lake City today to sign his new four-year contract worth a guesstimated $25 million. Today is the first day NBA free agents can sign their new deals.

After signing, the Jazz will give Harpring a physical. Harpring went into last season with a knee that had its second microfracture surgery in his four years with the Jazz. He missed 11 scattered games but averaged 12.5 points and 5.2 rebounds.

After the physical, the Jazz would have 72 business hours to evaluate the results and could void the contract if something serious shows up.

O'Connor also expects a signing from guard free agent Andre Owens — this one done by fax — to complete the trade with Golden State that sends Owens, Keith McLeod and Devin Brown to Golden State for Derek Fisher. Owens has indicated he will sign, O'Connor said.

GIRA CHECK: Guard Gordan Giricek is in town for four or five days, at the Jazz's request, said Jazz senior VP of basketball operations, to MRI and re-evaluate his sore Achilles after he missed the last 45 games of the 2005-06 season with tendinitis. Giricek has been told to take it easy workout-wise until now but could be given the OK to do more if the checkup goes well.

E-mail: lham@desnews.com