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Utah Jazz notes: Boozer is mum about marriage

Carlos Boozer wouldn't field anything but basketball questions after Saturday's shootaround, and teammate Deron Williams steered clear of a query as to how Boozer — who on Thursday filed for divorce from his wife of six-and-a-half years, CeCe — has maintained his focus through trying times.

But on the morning of a key NBA Western Conference win over the Phoenix Suns, Jazz coach Jerry Sloan was willing to address the issues of off-court distractions, how he and the franchise help team members deal with them and how Boozer's play has been affected by the personal matter.

"Anybody that has a personal problem, we'll do anything we can," Sloan said.

"If there's anything we can do, we'll try to make that known to the player — that if there's anything we can help you with, we'll try to do it," he added. "That's our first concern."

That established, Sloan suggested his job remains the same — with winning being the priority and concerns for feelings secondary when it comes to making on-court decisions such as substitution patterns.

"If I know (a player) is going through problems," he said, "then that gives me something to go on."

Sloan acknowledged Boozer has been dealing with marriage matters since prior to his struggles in last season's playoffs and addressed the issue of how it impacted the father-of-three's postseason play.

"I was aware he had some problems last year a little bit, and we get into the playoffs," the Jazz coach said. "But you've still got to try to win."

As for Boozer's struggles this season, Sloan pointed to the two-time All-Star's recent health history as his apparent primary impediment.

Boozer missed more than half the season with a left-leg injury that prompted eventual arthroscopic knee surgery.

"The bottom line is I have to understand he missed 40-some games," Sloan said. "That's my huge concern to begin with."

BIRTHDAY BOY: There was cake in the locker room at shootaround Saturday.

But with Kyrylo Fesenko assigned to the NBA Development League's Utah Flash and unavailable to perform his rookie duties, no one with the Jazz sang "Happy Birthday" to Sloan to celebrate his 67th.

And that's fine by Sloan.

"At my age, you don't worry about birthdays," he said. "I'm just happy to be alive."

The Jazz are now 8-3 when playing on Sloan's birthday, including three straight victories.

IT'S A GIRL: Reserve center Fesenko — called up Thursday from the Flash — was on the Jazz's 12-man active roster and No. 3 point guard Ronnie Price was made inactive for the first time this season.

Price was absent because his wife, Jenni, gave birth earlier Saturday to a healthy baby girl. No details on the child, including her name, were made available.

Until Saturday, Price was the only Jazz player who had not been inactive at least once this season.

Fesenko didn't play (coach's decision).

ALUMNI UPDATE: Phoenix forward Louis Amundson is one of just four Suns — along with Matt Barnes, Grant Hill and Shaquille O'Neal — to play in all 22 games since Alvin Gentry replaced fired coach Terry Porter at the NBA All-Star Game break.

Amundson played one game for the Jazz, his first in the NBA, in February of 2007.

He had two points in 14 minutes Saturday.

MISC.: As expected, Phoenix was without both big man Amar'e Stoudemire (eye surgery) and guard Leandro Barbosa (bruised leg bone). ... In the house: 1972 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Rodgers of Nebraska. ... Williams picked up his second technical foul of the season. That's twice as many as any other Jazz player, but still four fewer than Sloan has.

E-MAIL: tbuckley@desnews.com