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Jazz rookie Fesenko still adjusting to life in NBA

Jazz rookie Kyrylo Fesenko seemed just a bit lost when exiting the Jazz locker room Wednesday morning, asking reporters, "Will somebody tell me where is the exit?"

Fesenko has had multiple workouts at the Jazz's practice facility, but Wednesday — when the Jazz opened their eight-game preseason schedule with a 90-81 loss to Milwaukee — marked his first-ever shootaround at EnergySolutions Arena.

The morning snag wasn't Fesenko's only one Wednesday.

He sat on the floor waiting to enter the game in the fourth quarter, then jumped up after a timeout — only to have coach Jerry Sloan, a stickler for details, notice that Fesenko's jersey was not fully tucked.

Sloan had some pointed words for the 20-year-old, then instead called on free-agent hopeful Kevin Lyde.

"It's a terrible thing for me to have to do, but I don't know how else to put the message out there," Sloan, who re-inserted Fesenko about two minutes later, said afterward. "I felt bad about having to do it, but that's part of listening and trying to understand what we're doing.

"I'm not trying to be a policeman all the time, either," the Jazz coach added. "I don't want to be. ...But I think players should know, 'This is a business, get yourself ready to play."'

Fesenko, for his part, took the scolding in stride.

"It was my mistake," the big Ukrainian said with a sheepish smile. "I knew that it was my fault."

Beyond that, Fesenko — who scored seven points, hit 3-of-4 from the field and blocked two shots in 16 minutes — admitted to having plenty of nerves Wednesday.

So did fellow rookie Morris Almond, who shot 4-of-7 and scored 10.

"Coming into the arena," Almond said, "you're kind of looking around seeing what everybody else is doing."

"I was shaking a little bit," Fesenko added. "Everything was new. I was excited. I was scared a little bit, first minute. .... After my first turnover, I feel myself OK."

BOOZER UPDATE: The Jazz aren't planning on having Carlos Boozer with them when they depart today for Detroit. They aren't ruling out, however, the possibility of Boozer joining the club sometime on a three-stop preseason trip that includes games against the Pistons on Friday night, at Milwaukee on Saturday night and at Phoenix on Monday night.

"It's got to be his call," Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor said.

Boozer missed all of the Jazz's preseason camp in Boise last week because he was at home in Miami, where his young son Carmani is recovering from a bone marrow transplant related to his battle with sickle cell anemia. He also missed Wednesday's preseason opener.

Even if the Jazz's leading scorer and rebounder from last season does join the team on the road, Sloan said Wednesday, he won't play until he's practiced.

"Getting back in the flow of playing and running and reading defenses and executing plays, that takes some time to do," Sloan said. "He has told me that he's worked very hard. I'll find that out in a day or two."

HARPRING SIDELINED: Jazz backup small forward Matt Harpring didn't play Wednesday and will focus on rehab for the foreseeable future. Harpring, who hopes to be ready for the start of the regular season, is recovering from two offseason arthroscopic surgeries.

In early August, his right knee — which previously has undergone two microfracture surgeries — was cleared of scar tissue. On Sept. 1, he underwent an operation to address bone spurs in his left ankle — a procedure the Jazz didn't reveal to most major media outlets covering the club until Wednesday.

Harpring participated in only one practice a day during last week's two-a-days, and he's been held out of most contact work since camp opened. MISC.: Fesenko played Wednesday after missing practice Tuesday due to an apparent cause of food poisoning. He and Russian teammate Andrei Kirilenko dined together on sushi, but only Fesenko fell ill. ... Shooting guard C.J. Miles sustained a mild ankle sprain during practice Tuesday, but he played Wednesday, going scoreless with two shots four minutes. ... Jazz free-agent forward Donnell Harvey didn't dress due to a case of intestinal flu


E-mail: tbuckley@desnews.com