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Injured Jazz guard Dante Exum cleared for non-contact practice drills

FILE: Utah Jazz player Dante Exum poses during media day in Salt Lake City on Monday, Sept. 25, 2017.
FILE: Utah Jazz player Dante Exum poses during media day in Salt Lake City on Monday, Sept. 25, 2017.
Jeffrey D. Allred,

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — It’s unclear of when injured Utah Jazz guard Dante Exum will be returning to the lineup, but the Aussie has been ever present recently.

Exum has been getting up shots ahead of games and has now been cleared for non-contact practice drills in a one-on-one setting.

After Wednesday’s shootaround at Sacramento’s Golden 1 Center, Jazz assistant and player development coach Lamar Skeeter put Exum through a series of half-court and full-court layup drills, where the Aussie looked comfortable.

His shooting form certainly doesn’t seem broken like the recent viral video that surfaced of Philadelphia’s top draft pick Markelle Fultz, who is also recovering from a shoulder injury.

Jazz head coach Quin Snyder said Exum’s rehabilitation is coming along just fine.

“It’s good to see his demeanor,” Snyder said. “He made a comment the other day that ‘I feel like a basketball player, I haven’t felt like a basketball player since October.’

“I felt like he’s been rehabilitating, so it’s good to have him back.”

Exum has missed every game this season after undergoing left shoulder surgery. He first separated his shoulder in an Oct. 6 preseason game against Phoenix. His surgery was performed on Oct. 24 in Los Angeles to stabilize the AC joint.

“I’m feeling good,” Exum previously told the Deseret News. “Obviously, it’s a tough situation I’m in right now, but I’m looking forward and just trying to get better every day.”

The 6-foot-6, 190-pound Aussie was coming off his best season last year, where he put up career-best numbers of 6.2 points, 2.0 rebounds and 1.7 assists.

There is still no timeline on when he will actually return, but Jazz fans are hopeful that he can play this season, especially with all the injuries.

“He’s making progress,” Snyder said. “It’s a long road. He’s made a couple laps around the track and he’s got to run a couple more, but I think having a chance to be back on the court, with a ball, gives you some enthusiasm.”