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Jazz rookie Rodney Hood misses fifth straight but hopeful of returning soon

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Utah's Rodney Hood as the Utah Jazz and the LA Clippers play pre-season NBA basketball  Monday, Oct. 13, 2014, in Salt Lake City.

Utah’s Rodney Hood as the Utah Jazz and the LA Clippers play pre-season NBA basketball Monday, Oct. 13, 2014, in Salt Lake City.

Tom Smart, Deseret News

It feels like you’re walking on glass. – Rodney Hood on his plantar fasciitis in his right foot

TORONTO — Rodney Hood woke up the morning of the Jazz-Mavericks game a week and a half ago, and something just wasn’t right with his foot.

He could barely walk.

And when he tried, the pain was intense. “The pain just gradually got worse as it went along,” the Utah Jazz rookie said Saturday night at Air Canada Centre.

Hood has now missed five straight games with plantar fasciitis in his right foot. The small forward thought he was going to be able to play this past week, but the injury flared up again. He tested the foot Friday morning at Madison Square Garden, but it hadn’t improved enough yet to go.

“I never had it before. It’s a tough injury,” Hood said. “It feels like you’re walking on glass. It’s just something I’ve just got to be patient on.”

Hood has been in and out of a walking boot, and his physical activity has been limited to ball-handling drills and stationary cycling.

Though the Jazz had a successful road trip by their standards, Hood’s presence has been missed off the bench. The 6-8 first-year player provides the team with an outside presence, a good slasher and a wing defender.

Coach Quin Snyder reiterated Saturday that the team’s training staff wants to “err on the side of making sure that he’s 100 percent” before allowing Hood to play again. The rookie guesstimated that he’ll be back either Tuesday against Oklahoma City or Friday at Golden State.

“We miss him,” Snyder said. “He’s an important part of what we’re trying to do, especially the things he can do defensively.”

Hood averaged 4.0 points, 3.3 rebounds and one assist in six games before this foot issue.

“Yeah, it’s frustrating,” Hood said. “But I’m just trying to be a cheerleader for the guys and trying to have a positive vibe for myself.”

BLESSING IN DISGUISE: Guard Toure’ Murry missed a chance to return to New York where he played last season before joining the Jazz, but Snyder believes his D-League assignment to the Idaho Stampede will be beneficial.

“I think he’s working his tail off. Game after game if you’re not even active, that can be hard on a player,” the Jazz coach said. “My experience is that once you get over the feeling that, ‘Hey … it’s not a sign of failure in any way,’ it’s an opportunity. I think for him to see it that way will really help him.”

The 6-5 Murry, signed by the Jazz in the offseason, will get a chance to play point guard and shooting guard for Idaho. He scored 10 points with four rebounds and four assists in Friday’s Stampede loss.

Snyder said he wants the former Wichita State standout, who’s played well in the D-League before, to get reps so he can get a chance to score and defend on a regular basis.

The fact that Idaho runs Snyder’s system and uses the same communication patterns will also be a bonus.

“(Stampede coach) Dean Cooper was with us all summer and has done a great job adapting that to his personnel,” Snyder said. “There’s enough similar things — communication, system — that will really benefit Toure’.”

ATTRACTING ATTENTION: With the way Gordon Hayward is playing, it’s not surprising that a lot of the media attention on this road trip has been on the fifth-year blossoming standout. A day after Hayward scored 33 in a tough duel with Carmelo Anthony in New York, Snyder was asked what is different about the 24-year-old this season.

“The energy and passion in which he’s playing,” Snyder said.

The coach believes Hayward is also more cognizant of taking good shots and playing in motion. Snyder also addressed Hayward’s improved leadership skills.

“I want him to continue to be more vocal,” Snyder said. “I tell him as much as he understands and feels what we’re doing, if he’s not sharing that, he’s being selfish.”

EMAIL: jody@desnews.com