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Utah Jazz: Boozer’s out for knee surgery

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Utah Jazz forward Carlos Boozer, right, sits on the bench with guard Ronnie Brewer during a November game. Boozer will undergo arthroscopic surgery sometime next month on his injured left knee.

Utah Jazz forward Carlos Boozer, right, sits on the bench with guard Ronnie Brewer during a November game. Boozer will undergo arthroscopic surgery sometime next month on his injured left knee.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

The Jazz expect All-Star power forward Carlos Boozer to be out for at least another month because of a decision to undergo arthroscopic surgery on his injured left knee.

Los Angeles area-based orthopedic specialist Dr. Richard Ferkel will perform the operation, which the team said may not be performed until Jan. 9.

The procedure is being postponed until then, according to a statement from the team, because of an unhealed skin laceration that occurred during rehab and is located "very near the scope site."

Ferkel and Jazz orthopedist Dr. Lyle Mason agreed surgery was needed after Boozer underwent a third MRI exam Monday in L.A.

"What they're suspecting is that he's got some loose particles in there that are settling in the joint," Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor said Tuesday afternoon.

Boozer already has been out nearly six weeks.

He sustained a strained left quadriceps tendon and bruised kneecap in a Nov. 19 home game against Milwaukee, and he has missed 21 straight games since, including Monday night's victory over Philadelphia.

A specific timetable for Boozer's anticipated continued absence will not be released until sometime after the surgery, though O'Connor said that even in a best-case scenario he thought it would be another month or so before the 27-year-old plays again.

"I'm leery to put a timeline on it because they (doctors) are not positive what it is," O'Connor said. "They're not convinced of where it is and what it is."

In any event, he added, "I don't think there would be any way he'd be back before a month."

The call for surgery was made by Ferkel and Mason, according to a team statement, only "after having tried to conservatively rehabilitate (Boozer's) left knee, which has not responded satisfactorily, and reviewing all of the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test results."

O'Connor said both Monday's MRI and a second one taken earlier showed increased swelling when compared to the first one that was performed.

Boozer, who was not available for comment Tuesday, is expected to continue with cardiovascular and weight-training rehabilitation until the time of surgery.

O'Connor painted the Duke University product as being anxious to finally get the problem addressed.

"He was concerned," O'Connor said, "because every time he pushed himself to get to a place, it swelled up on him."

The Jazz, idle until visiting the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night, have the maximum-allowed 15 players on their current roster.

O'Connor — when asked in light of the latest developments — said no changes are under consideration.

Though official announcement of the decision for surgery was not made until Tuesday afternoon, Jazz point guard Deron Williams — speaking prior to practice Tuesday — seemed braced for the release of news of Boozer's extended absence.

"Just keep playing," Williams said when asked what the team must do to adjust.

"You know, we've been injured all season," he added. "So, it's nothing new to us, I guess. I mean, it's pretty sad. But that's how it is. Hopefully he gets back as soon as possible."

Williams said the Jazz already miss "just what (Boozer) gives you every night — you know, 20 and 10 every night, an inside presence, a guy who can get baskets at any time of the game."

Boozer, named an NBA All-Star each of the past two seasons, was averaging 20.5 points and 11.7 rebounds per game at the time he came down awkwardly on the EnergySolutions Arena floor.

Asked as well what the Jazz can do to deal with Boozer being out longer, Jazz coach Jerry Sloan's suggestion was decidedly similar.

"Same thing we've been doing: just play younger guys," said Sloan, who — since Boozer has been absent — has given added minutes to now-injured backup power forward Paul Millsap, rookie big man Kosta Koufos and reserve center Kyrylo Fesenko.

"There will be a chance for them to play more," he said. "We'll have to play the best we can, see where Paul is when he comes back."

Last Friday, the Jazz said replacement-starter Millsap would be out 7 to 10 days due to a sprained posterior cruciate ligament sustained three nights earlier in Milwaukee.

"It's my understanding when he (Millsap) comes back he'll have to wear a brace, which would hamper anybody," Sloan said. "But what can you do about it? Feel sorry for yourself? Then you're gonna get killed every night. If you don't feel sorry for yourself, and come and compete like we have pretty much three out of the last four games we've played — that's all I can ask for."

E-mail: tbuckley@desnews.com