Depleted Jazz

Depleted Jazz

By Marty
Gitlin Contributing Writer

The Utah Jazz haven’t exactly been tearing up NBA hardwoods since the final page was turned on 2006.

And now they’ve added injury to insult.

The Jazz, who are 6-7 since Jan. 5, will be without their starting forwards Monday night against visiting New Jersey. Leading scorer and rebounder Carlos Boozer will miss his first game this season with an injured knee while Andrei Kirilenko is out with a sprained right ankle.

The extent of Boozer’s injury will be known after more tests are conducted. He has enjoyed his finest season at 22 points and 12 rebounds a game, which is fourth in the NBA. Boozer hurt the knee
Saturday night when he collided with New Orleans center Tyson Chandler.

Kirilenko, who missed five games earlier in the year with an injury to the same ankle, is expected to return later this week.

The injuries have played a role in the odds for Monday night’s game, but still lists the Jazz as 2-point favorites against the Nets, who broke a three-game losing streak Saturday night in Denver.

SIGH OF RELIEF IN WINDY CITY: Chicago Bulls fans must have seen the season go up in smoke when center Ben Wallace crumpled to the floor after a collision with Miami’s Udonis Haslem Saturday night.

They held their collective breath, but didn’t need to fret. An MRI on Wallace’s left knee
showed no structural damage. Wallace is listed as day-to-day and could return as early as Wednesday night, when the Bulls start a seven-game road trip against the Los Angeles Clippers.

Wallace is averaging 6.5 points and 10.1 rebounds in his first season with Chicago since signing a free-agent contract during the offseason. He is eighth in the league at 2.12 blocked shots a game.

DRIBBLES: Talk about a glorious return. Milwaukee guard Mo Williams had missed the previous nine games with a sprained shoulder, but he scored a game-high 30 points, including a game-winning running jumper with 3.l seconds remaining, in a 107-105 victory Sunday over New York. … Cleveland threw a brief scare into visiting Phoenix on Sunday, but the Suns pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 115-100 road victory. The Suns will shoot for their 18th consecutive win Monday night
in Minnesota. They are a 5-point favorites, according to … The battered Boston Celtics welcomed the return of swingman Wally Szczerbiak, but still lost Sunday to visiting Washington, 105-91. Their 11-game losing streak is their longest in 10 years. They also set a franchise mark by dropping nine in a row at home and have fallen behind Philadelphia into last place in the Atlantic Division. … Wizards forward Antawn Jamison has certainly given high-scoring point guard Gilbert Arenas plenty of offensive help recently. Jamison has scored 69 points on 26-of-45 (58 percent) shooting in the last two games.

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