Flukey knee injuries have limited Utah’s Rudy Gobert — one of the best rim-protecting big man in the NBA — to just 18 games this season, including the last eight. Utah’s defense has suffered without him (it was 4.5 points per possessions better with him on the court this season) and Utah is 2.5 games out of the playoffs as of this writing.
It will be a couple more weeks at least before he is back on the court, the Jazz announced. From the update:
Gobert was reevaluated on Saturday by Utah Jazz medical staff and is showing progress to make a return. He will be reevaluated in two weeks.
Utah is trying to keep its head above water and within striking distance of the playoffs until it can get everyone healthy and make a push. Only 3.5 games separate the Jazz (currently the 10 seed) and the sixth-seeded Nuggets. Of those teams — Denver, Portland, New Orleans, the L.A. Clippers, and Utah — who gets in and who is out may come down to health. The Jazz and Clippers are on the outside looking in right now, and they have been the two most banged up of the squads.
Utah picked up a quality win Saturday, spoiling LeBron James‘ birthday thanks to 29 points from Donovan Mitchell, including the driving, game-winning layup.