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Utah Jazz notebook: Okur at 75 percent still good enough

SHARE Utah Jazz notebook: Okur at 75 percent still good enough

Forget the standard cliche' of giving 110 percent. On Monday night, Mehmet Okur said he could only play at about 75 percent because of a nagging lower-back injury.

The Jazz weren't complaining about the missing 35 percent.

Though not at full strength, the Jazz center returned to the starting lineup after missing three games and played a big role in Utah's 112-95 home win over the Philadelphia 76ers.

One can only wonder what a 100-percent healthy Okur might've done. The "still a little bit sore" big man notched a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds in 35 productive minutes.

"I felt good ... I just wanted to go out there (and) try to give my best," said Okur, who added three assists, two steals and a block. "We got the W; that's all that matters right now."

Though rookie and fill-in starter Kosta Koufos and even Kyrylo Fesenko played surprisingly well in Okur's absence this past weekend, the Jazz were glad to have their big Turk back on the court. Especially with Carlos Boozer and Paul Millsap still out with their own injuries.

"They have to respect Memo everywhere on the court. I mean, he puts a lot of pressure on defenses," said Jazz point guard Deron Williams. "It definitely was good to have him back. We need him out there."

Jerry Sloan thought Okur looked "kind of worn out." But, the Jazz coach added, "he was at least, I thought, trying to play and hopefully he gets better."

Not playing again until Friday night in Los Angeles should help.

"We have a few days before the Lakers game, so I'll be fine," Okur said.

Another thing that helps is that the Jazz don't have to play or practice again on his current least-favorite court back in Illinois. His back started having spasms again there during Utah's five-game road trip.

"We had a practice at Chicago (the day) after the game, and the floor was kind of hard," said Okur, who has a history of soreness in his lower back. "We had a couple-hours practice then, and for some reason it got sore. Game-day, I couldn't move."

SICK AGAIN: For the second straight home game, Ronnie Brewer tossed his cookies during the game (fortunately not on the court) but returned to play despite a tortured tummy.

"I've been trying to take medicine constantly," he said. "We're so undermanned, just being sick is not an excuse to be sitting out any games."

"Like coach said, 'Too far from your heart to just sit out,"' he added. "So I just tried to give what I could, run the floor hard, get a couple shots, distribute the ball a little bit."

FRIENDLY FEUD: Former Sixer Kyle Korver shot a technical free throw in the fourth quarter after his former teammate and friend, Reggie Evans, fouled him hard and received a Flagrant-1 penalty.

"Reggie's fouled me much harder than that during practice," Korver said with a smile.

Korver hit the free throw and then laughed about it with Evans right after the incident.

"I know that he didn't mean anything by it. He was joking around about it afterwards," Korver said. "It was a free throw. I'll take it and we'll move on."

RESULTS PENDING: Jazz forward Carlos Boozer (strained left quad/bruised kneecap) was in L.A. on Monday to undergo a third MRI on his ailing left leg that has sidelined him for the past 21 games. Utah is expecting to get results back on the test today.

OW: Assistant trainer/equipment manager Brian Zettler underwent surgery Monday to repair a biceps muscle that tore while he was working out with Jazz players on the road in Chicago.

Forget the injury list for him. Zettler fulfilled his duties shortly after the surgery wearing a sling.

E-mail: jody@desnews.com