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Utah Jazz notebook: Frustrated Andrei Kirilenko hurts left leg again

Utah's Adrei Kirilenko as the Utah Jazz defeat the Washington Wizards 112-89.
Utah's Adrei Kirilenko as the Utah Jazz defeat the Washington Wizards 112-89.
Tom Smart, Deseret News

INDIANAPOLIS — The Jazz said starting small forward Andrei Kirilenko has a thigh contusion after getting kicked in his already injured left leg during the fourth quarter of Friday night's loss at Indiana.

Kirilenko wasn't certain if it's that, a mere muscle spasm or a more-serious aggravation of his already strained left calf muscle.

But he did say "it's pretty much the same area" as the original strain.

"I'm not sure if it's a kick," he said. "I need to see the video. We'll see (today) what's the result. I hope it's just a kick.

"I just feel like a straight hit in there. I don't know. I hope it's not a muscle pop."

Kirilenko said the pain was similar to the calf strain, which — before his return Friday — had caused him to miss four straight games and six of Utah's previous seven.

"It is very frustrating," he said. "Every game, I'm trying to get back — but (there's a setback) again.

"I'm trying to be very precautious, ... but I was feeling completely healthy. (Thursday) it feels great, the shootaround (Friday) it feels great."

The Jazz did warn Kirilenko, though, against trying to come back too soon.

"Rather than take a chance, we try to tell Andrei that he has to tell us where he is. If he's got any problems, he has to step off," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said before the game. "I don't want him to go out there and, if we can avoid it, have some of the same things that happened before.

"He has to be responsible, because we can look at him and have all the thoughts in the world, but he has to make the decision as to how he feels."

Yet Kirilenko was injured yet again, anyway — leaving his status for tonight's game at Washington and beyond in question.

"I don't know how much more games it can take (to return)," he said.

PROSPECT WATCH: Croatian big man Ante Tomic, a 2008 second-round draft choice whose NBA rights still are owned by the Jazz, is starting to turn heads in Spain.

Acquired earlier this season by usual Spanish League power Real Madrid, Tomic on Thursday blocked four shots and made 10-of-15 from the field while scoring a game-high 22 points in a quarterfinal-round Euroleague playoff series win over Barcelona.

"Tomic had a very good game, showing that we have found a player that gives us a reason to look to the future," Real coach Ettore Messina said, according to FIBA.com. "He is mature, is learning fast, and we are happy to have brought him here."

The 23-year-old left the Adriatic League for the higher-quality Spanish League.

Said Tomic, according to the same Web site: "Nobody knows me at this level, and maybe that is why I played so well."

The Jazz have no known plans to bring Tomic to Utah anytime in the immediate future.

MISC.: Center Mehmet Okur's team-high 27 points Friday were one off his season high, and his 10 free throws were the most he's made this season. ... With Kirilenko back on the Jazz's 12-man active roster, healthy rookie Oythus Jeffers was inactive Friday. ... Indiana's bench outscored the Jazz's 29-21.

e-mail: tbuckley@desnews.com