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Bojan Bogdanovic making strong progress in recovery from wrist surgery

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Utah Jazz forward Bojan Bogdanovic (44) drives to the hoop between Sacramento Kings guard Buddy Hield (24) and Sacramento Kings guard Cory Joseph (9) as the Utah Jazz and the Sacramento Kings play an NBA basketball game at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Bojan Bogdanovic did not want to have surgery on his wrist.

Yeah, he’d been playing all season in pain and he had a torn ligament, but he didn’t want to miss the playoffs. But, that was the competitor talking.

Fortunately, clearer minds prevailed, but it did take some convincing.

“After talking to every single player and every single member of the coaching staff and the front office, we decided that it was probably better to have a healthy team this season,” Bogdanovic said Tuesday via Zoom.

He was going to have to have the surgery no matter what, but if he would have gone on and played postseason basketball he could have injured the already jeopardized wrist even more and it almost certainly would have meant him missing a good chunk of the 2020-21 season.

“My motion is great. I don’t think I have any problems with that, which is important for me because it’s my shooting hand.” — Bojan Bogdanovic

Instead, Bogdanovic had surgery to repair the ruptured scapholunate ligament in his right wrist in May. 

The good news is that by all accounts Bogdanovic’s recovery is progressing well and there aren’t any hiccups to report.

After two months in a cast and even more time building up strength and flexion in his wrist, the Croatian forward said that his range of motion is back to normal.

“My motion is great,” he said. “I don’t think I have any problems with that, which is important for me because it’s my shooting hand.”

Bogdanovic has been in Salt Lake City working out at the Jazz’s practice facility for several weeks and has even gotten back to shooting 3s and feeling good while doing it.

Ordinarily the recovery time for that particular surgery is six months, but an athlete rehabbing from surgery in 2020 is anything but ordinary. Bogdanovic hasn’t been able to play one-on-one, much less five-on-five, not only because of the rehabbing after surgery, but also due to restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Getting in a good amount of time on the court and working up to playing through full contact is the next step of the recovery process.

There’s definitely a chance that Bogdanovic will be ready to go for the start of the 2020-21 season but he has to see how it feels when he lands on his wrist, is bodied up against another player and is shooting at game speed.

“We will need to reevaluate my situation when we start with the contact practice so I cannot tell you exactly if I’m going to be ready or not for the beginning of the season,” he said. “I’ve got to wait and then start to go one-on-one and then start to play five-on-five and then I’ll see how I’m going to react. But I’m really happy with the position that I am in right now.”

His team is certainly happy as well.

It was difficult for Bogdanovic to watch the Jazz play in the bubble night after night, not being able to help them. It was equally as difficult for the rest of the team watching their 3-1 series lead over Denver slip away, often in close-game situations.

“Bojan is a very good basketball player, is a great 3-point shooter and also can create,” Rudy Gobert said. “He’s a great scorer and especially in the clutch situations, too, so of course when you don’t have that guy in a lot of close games in the playoffs, it does make a difference.”

That was the reason the Jazz wanted Bogdanovic to have the surgery sooner rather than later. Last season, he was one of many new players on the Jazz and the team dealt with injuries early on in the year that made incorporating new pieces even harder.

This season, the Jazz are for the most part the same team. They’re familiar with one another, deeper, and most importantly they’re healthy. And the health of their second-leading scorer and clutch shot maker is a big piece of the puzzle.