OAKLAND — The swaggy dress shirts and customized off-court gear could be taking a backseat soon as the Utah Jazz’s marquee center is nearing a return.
Rudy Gobert participated in a light workout at Oracle Arena Wednesday ahead of the Jazz’s first game this season against the defending champion Golden State Warriors.
After missing the past seven games with a left PCL sprain and bone bruise, the All-NBA center will be re-evaluated this weekend. Some suggested that he would need at least a month to heal, but the big man continues to work diligently and seems to be coming along fine.
He initially sustained the injury after clashing with teammate Derrick Favors less than two minutes into the Jazz’s 107-95 victory in Boston on Friday, Dec. 15.
He also missed eleven games earlier in the season with a right tibia contusion after taking a hit to the knee from Miami’s Dion Waiters.
In his fifth season, the 7-foot-1 center is averaging 11.6 points, 9.6 boards and 2.3 blocks per game. Although Gobert’s shot blocking is certainly missed, Warriors All-Star Draymond Green said the team is just as dangerous in his absence as they are adapting to a different style of play.
“Even with Rudy (Gobert) missing a bunch of the season, it’s made them tougher in some aspects,” Green said of the Jazz. “They get up and down the floor more, when he’s out.
“The floor is a little more spaced out when he’s not out there so it makes them a little tougher to guard,” he added. “I think they’ve been quite a surprise even with them losing.”
STAYING IN SHAPE: Jazz Raul Neto has also missed the last eight games with a concussion. Neto continues to travel with the team, but is limited to pregame workouts until he’s cleared to return to on-court action. The team isn’t rushing his return.
“He’s getting better,” said Jazz coach Quin Snyder. “You always want it to be quicker than it is but there’s things like this that you can’t rush and it’s one day at a time to hit the cliché, but that’s where we’re at.”
TWO-MINUTE REPORT: Warriors star Kevin Durant has been in the national spotlight for the past couple days after the league released a “Last Two Minute Report.” It stated that he fouled Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James three times during the final possessions of Golden State’s Christmas victory, but the controversy hasn’t affected Durant.
“I understand it,” Durant said. “Especially because the fans want to get a confirmation of what they thought happened during the game so I understand what it’s about but that doesn’t change the outcome, that doesn’t change what happened throughout the rest of the game, it’s more than two minutes into a basketball game.”
Green wasn’t as level-headed about the report. He called it “pointless.”
“Why would you just judge the last two minutes of the game,” Green said. “What about the call that was missed in the first quarter? What about the call that was missed in the third quarter? That call could’ve started a whole run for them and changed the entire game.”