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Bojan Bogdanovic and Danuel House Jr. to return to Jazz lineup vs. Lakers

It’s a step in the right direction as the Jazz look to get healthy ahead of the playoffs

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Utah Jazz forward Bojan Bogdanovic lays the ball up

Utah Jazz forward Bojan Bogdanovic (44) takes the ball to the hoop over Portland Trail Blazers forward Elijah Hughes (19) as the Utah Jazz and the Portland Trail Blazers play an NBA basketball game at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, March 9, 2022.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

The Utah Jazz are on a five-game losing streak and have dropped to sixth in the Western Conference standings.

As the Jazz wade through the final six games of the regular season, they’re hoping for one thing — health.

The thing that jumps out is that we need to be healthy,” Jazz head coach Quin Snyder said just before the team’s most recent loss. “That’s the primary thing in my mind.”

It looks like the Jazz will get one step closer to being healthy when they face the Los Angeles Lakers at Vivint Arena on Thursday night as Bojan Bogdanovic and Danuel House Jr. return to the lineup.

Bogdanovic has missed the last nine games with a left calf strain, and House has missed the last eight games with a left knee bone bruise. Both players said on Thursday morning that they weren’t sure how much they’d be able to play or if they’d be on a minutes restriction, but that they would indeed be returning to the lineup.

That’s great news for the Jazz, who need to rack up a few wins so that they aren’t in danger of falling into the seventh seed, which would force them into the pre-playoff play-in tournament.

Getting some reinforcements ahead of the game against the Lakers will make the Jazz the favorites to win on Thursday night as the Lakers have lost three straight and will be playing without LeBron James and Anthony Davis. But the Jazz’s health hopes go beyond just Thursday’s game.

The Jazz are still playing without backup center Hassan Whiteside, who has missed three games with a right foot strain. With Udoka Azubuike out for the rest of the season following surgery on his right ankle, the Jazz signed signed veteran Greg Monroe to a 10-day contract to try to hold them over at the center position until they can get Whiteside back.

Adding to the Jazz’s injury woes, Trent Forrest sustained a concussion in the Jazz loss to the Clippers on Tuesday night, and there’s no timetable for his return. Also, everyone is watching Donovan Mitchell’s right ankle closely after he tweaked it against the Dallas Mavericks Sunday.

Mitchell has not been on the Jazz’s injury report, but he noted there’s soreness and some fear considering how things went with his ankle in last year’s playoffs.

In a perfect world the Jazz would want to go through the final handful of games with their full roster available so there could be some continuity heading into the postseason, but at this point they are just hoping to be healthy when the playoffs begin on April 16.