MEMPHIS — It’s not necessarily good news, but there is some encouraging news on the George Hill front.
Hill, who’s missed the past nine games with a sprained left big toe, is on this road trip with the Utah Jazz.
He’s working out, even putting up shots before games.
“I feel like he’s turned a corner being able to do a little bit more,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said this weekend.
In recent days, Hill’s extra activity has included being able to do toe lifts. In Sunday’s pregame workout, the point guard was even able to get off the court a few inches on his 3-point jump shots.
“I guess I’m hopeful,” Snyder said. “I don’t think that we know exactly where it is, whether it’s a week or two weeks. … I don’t think it’s day-to-day. It’s days-to-days, week-to-week. I don’t really know what to call it.”
The Jazz organization no longer gives timetables for injuries, but in Hill’s case the Jazz simply might not know.
“It’s never as quick as you want, as quick as he wants, as quick as our medical staff wants,” Snyder said. “We’re just doing everything we can.”
BIG TESTS: Before tipoff of the Jazz's 82-73 win Sunday, Snyder wasn’t quite ready to describe this rough road trip against Memphis and Golden State as being a measuring stick for Utah.
“It can on some level,” Snyder said. “I’m hesitant to try to make or break who we are at this point of the season and particularly until we get Derrick (Favors) and George (Hill) starts playing.”
This win, however, helped Utah (18-10) leapfrog over Memphis (18-11), one of the better teams in the league so far, to the fifth spot in the West.
"These are big games," Jazz small forward Gordon Hayward said of the Memphis game and upcoming matchups with the Warriors and Toronto. "I think every game is a big game for us out in the West and (for) positioning these are crucial games for us. We’ve got to play well."
FAN SECTION: Rodney Hood wasn't sure how many family and friends he had in attendance at this Memphis game, but he said it was a lot. Hood's hometown of Meridian, Mississippi, is only about 3½ hours away from the FedEx Forum.
Hood's high school coach, Randy Bolden, was among those who came to support him.
"He’s one of the main reasons why I’m here right now," Hood said of his high school coach. "He taught me hard work and he ran me a lot and he was always on me. Even when I became one of the best players in the state, he was always on me."
Hood said they text each other every couple of weeks.
HOLD THE PHONE: Speaking of texts, Hood said he couldn't keep up with all of the messages and calls he received after hitting his first-ever game-winning shot Friday against Dallas.
"It was crazy," said Hood, who hit a 3-pointer with 0.8 seconds remaining to put the Jazz ahead 103-100 in that Friday win. "I had to put my phone down, so many people was texting and calling and Instagramming. It’s calmed down. You've got to move on to the next game and try to get another win."
JAZZ NOTES: Despite injuries, the Jazz (18-10) now have a .500 record during the first two and a half seasons of the Quin Snyder era (96-96). … Jazz center Rudy Gobert finished with 21 points, 12 rebounds and three blocked shots for his seventh straight double-double. That's the second-longest streak in the league. … Hayward also had a season-high three blocked shots. … Hood missed all eight 3-point attempts but still ended with a plus-24 plus/minus rating in the win.