Utah's Brown forced to miss Game 3 with neck injury

Utah's Brown forced to miss Game 3 with neck injury



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By JOSH DUBOW AP Sports Writer

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Utah rookie guard Dee Brown was forced to miss Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals against Golden State on Friday night after spraining his neck in a collision with teammate Mehmet Okur.

Brown took part in light workouts during a morning shootaround Friday, but had difficulty turning his head after the scary injury in Game 2 of the series.

"It's stiff. It's really stiff," Brown said. "I'm just blessed enough being able to move and talk to you all right now and turn my head a little bit. I still haven't seen it, but I felt it. I'm blessed to be here."

Brown hopes to be ready for Game 4 on Sunday night.

Brown was hurt while trying to take a charge from Matt Barnes of the Warriors with 5:09 left in the opening quarter of Game 2 on Wednesday night. Brown fell to the court and the 6-foot-11, 260-pound Okur then landed on him, driving Brown's chin to his chest. The 6-foot Brown, who weighs 180 pounds, remained on the floor for several minutes before being helped up and led to the locker room.

"It was pretty scary especially when they kept showing it on the replay," said Jazz point guard Deron Williams, Brown's teammate in college at Illinois. "We didn't know how Dee was going to be, because he didn't look too good when he walked off. I was definitely happy he was able to walk off himself. That was reassuring."

Brown said the only serious injury he'd had was a broken foot in 2005. But an injury to the neck is much different and he said he panicked a little right after the collision.

"It was a scary time for me," Brown said. "I could see how easily basketball can be taken away from me. I'm privileged to play but you can be injured and have it taken away. That was one of those injuries that could have done me in. All I know is basketball, so I was kind of worried."

Brown played only 4 minutes in the opening-round series against Houston but was given more responsibility the first two games this round because starting guard Derek Fisher missed all of Game 1 and most of Game 2 to be with his 10-month-old daughter as she underwent cancer treatment.

Fisher joined the team in the second half of Game 2 and helped the Jazz win 127-117 in overtime to take a 2-0 series lead. Fisher was expected to start Friday night, with Gordan Giricek returning to a reserve role.

Brown scored six points in 13 minutes in Game 1 and had two points in 6 minutes Wednesday night. He averaged 1.9 points per game in 49 regular-season contests.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.) APTV-05-11-07 1434MDT

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