Jordan Clarkson has missed four games with an ankle sprain, but said he expects to play Friday at Vivint Arena when the Utah Jazz host the Indiana Pacers in the first game of a back-to-back set that concludes with an away game against the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday.
“Doing a lot of treatment, icing and trying to get ready for this weekend knowing it’s a back-to-back,” Clarkson said after practice on Thursday. “Tomorrow I think I’m expected to play so you know, I’m going through, checking all the boxes, making sure I’m good, getting all the swelling out. Still a little bruising, but I feel like I’m ready to go.”
Clarkson said he first injured the ankle in the last week of March when the Memphis Grizzlies were in Salt Lake City for a back-to-back set. Then, on April 5, Clarkson twisted his ankle again against the Dallas Mavericks. Finally, he once again twisted the same ankle on a fast break while in Phoenix playing the Suns on April 7. After that game he said the swelling and bruising in his ankle looked like a “golf ball.”
Though the sprain is healing and Clarkson is antsy to get back on the court, he said that there are also other ailments he’s been playing through.
He revealed that after a March 1 game in New Orleans, he saw doctors about a ‘crack’ in his shooting hand, which he said was very swollen at the time. The Jazz played one more game, March 3 in Philadelphia, before the All-Star break, and the decision was made that he would just continue to play.
“That’s just part of the game, something that I’m getting through and kept playing through,” he said. “Everything’s fine. It’s something that we didn’t feel was a big problem and kept rolling.”
Clarkson mentioned the hand injury to prove the point that he along with many other players are at a point in the season where they are playing through minor injuries and different bumps and bruises so there’s no excuse for not performing well and that he isn’t worried about shots not falling.
Though that’s probably the right attitude to have, Clarkson’s shooting numbers have declined since March 1. In games prior to that, Clarkson was shooting 37.2% from 3-point range, and in games since he has hit at 30%.
Of course, the dip in efficiency could be coincidence, could be from fatigue, the hand injury, or could just be an unrelated lull. No matter the reason, Clarkson said he’s not willing to use the hand or ankle injuries as an excuse and that he’s feeling good about where he and the team are.
The Jazz did not have a full-contact practice Thursday, but what they did do, Clarkson took part in and Jazz coach Quin Snyder said Clarkson was “moving well.”
Clarkson will have to be cleared by the Jazz’s health and performance staff before being cleared to play in Friday or Saturday’s games.