The Jazz were without two of their point guards when they beat the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night, and it remains to be seen when either will be back.

Usual starter Deron Williams sat out yet again because of the sprained left ankle he sustained one month and a couple days ago, during an Oct. 18 preseason game at Chicago.

He's missed all but two of the Jazz's 12 games so far this season.

"It still hurts," Williams said after the Jazz's shootaround Wednesday morning.

Williams — who once broke his jaw while at the University of Illinois — said he's "never had an injury this bad."

But he does sense progress.

"I feel like I'm getting stronger," he said. "A lot of my game is changing directions, explosion. It's hard for me to do that stuff right now."

Also out Wednesday was veteran reserve point Brevin Knight, who has been finishing for the Jazz while Williams has been out, and reserve big man Jarron Collins.

Knight strained his groin in last Monday's win over Phoenix.

He said Wednesday that it wasn't any worse, but added, "it just hasn't gotten better as quick as I would have liked it to."

"Lateral movement isn't very good," Knight said. Straight forward I'm fine, but if someone makes too many moves I don't know what I'd be able to do."

Meanwhile, center Mehmet Okur returned to the Jazz lineup Wednesday and shot 0-for-3 from the field.

But Collins, who started in Okur's place against the Suns, sat out due to the sore right elbow that has bothered him throughout the season.

Okur missed four games last week while visiting his seriously ill father in Turkey, and didn't play Monday because of a strained lower back.

HIGH PRAISE: Before Wednesday's game Jazz coach Jerry Sloan offered rare high praise for seldom-used reserve shooting guard Morris Almond, who learned last month that his contract option for next season would not be picked up by the team.

"I'm looking for guys to compete," Sloan said. "Mo Almond deserves a chance to play more. He's been making it tough to sit him down. He's played well in practice. He's worked hard. He's worked in the weight room. He's done other things to try to make himself better.

"I'd like to think it's me, but I think he's come to realization he can play in this league and end up playing — because he's worked on some of the things he's needed to work on," the Jazz coach added. "He's defended, tried to do that. Plus, he's got a skill — knows how to get open and make shots, and makes free throws."

Almond did log six scoreless minutes in Wednesday's first half, but he didn't play after the break.

RUMOR MILL: The Jazz are known to be among numerous NBA teams that called to inquire about veteran big man Antonio McDyess, a free agent after being traded recently from Detroit to Denver and reaching a buyout agreement with the Nuggets.

They don't feel they have any legit shot, however, at actually signing McDyess, who is in the midst of a 30-day window that must expire before he is eligible to re-sign with the Pistons.

According a report Wednesday on SI.com, which cited unnamed "league sources," the leading three bidders for McDyess should he not return to Detroit are believed to be Cleveland, San Antonio and Boston, with the Cavaliers supposedly offering the most money.

MILLER BACK: Jazz owner Larry H. Miller, who missed Monday's game for medical reasons, was back Wednesday, so the team proceeded with a previously postponed pre-game ceremony honoring Sloan for having notched his 1,000 win as head coach of the franchise.


E-mail: tbuckley@desnews.com