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CHICAGO — Here's what's going on with the Utah Jazz on Wednesday, as they prepare to take on the Chicago Bulls.
Rodney Hood back
Rodney Hood will play for the Jazz against the Chicago Bulls Wednesday night, though we learned today that he will be on an unspecified minutes restriction.
That also meant we had our first chance to talk to Hood in a while, and Hood revealed something interesting about his injury. He characterized it as "ankle soreness, tendon soreness around my Achilles," rather than just the "ankle soreness" phrase we've heard over the last two weeks.
"It started as ankle soreness during the game, I think we were playing Milwaukee," Hood said. "Then my foot started hurting everywhere. I just had to rest it. ... The medical staff and I, we just decided to let it rest rather than complicate it and I'd be out for a longer time."
Later Wednesday afternoon, Jazz PR reached out on behalf of the medical staff to say that it wasn't actually the Achilles tendon that was giving Hood problems, but another ankle tendon near the Achilles that wasn't at it's best. No matter which tendon it was, the Jazz wanted to be careful about how they treated it, to prevent a longer absence down the road.
Regardless, his teammates are happy to see him return. "It's going to be great to have Rodney back," fellow Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell said. "He's been a guy who's been talking to me a lot throughout this entire thing, and it's good to have him back as a leader, he knows what he's doing on the floor."
Other roster notes
Joe Johnson has been ruled out for Wednesday's game against Chicago, though it seems likely he'll play on Friday against Boston.
Jonas Jerebko will be available for the Jazz and is no longer listed on the injury report due to the illness he had on Tuesday.
Raul Neto is out due to being in the NBA's concussion protocol. The Jazz have two-way player Nate Wolters in Chicago to be active on the roster while Neto can't play.
Playing the Chicago Bulls seemed like just the prescription for the Jazz they needed, having lost three in a row and facing a stretch where they might not be favored in their next nine games after this one. But it's going to be harder than we thought: the Bulls have won three in a row and have figured some things out on both ends of the floor.
"Knowing that we're going to see a team right now that's found a little bit of a groove," Jazz head coach Quin Snyder said. "Dunn is playing really well and doing a great job in pick and roll, Mirotic is back, they're a different team on a number of levels. They've been solid. If you watch them on film, defensively, they're really solid and focused, and we've got to be ready to go."
The good news: With three days off, the Jazz should be rested and ready to go.
"The way we play, we expend a lot of energy on both ends of the floor," Snyder said. The break should benefit them.
Donovan Mitchell against defensive scouting
The Bucks defended Mitchell quite well on Saturday, blocking some of his shots and forcing more misses. He ended up shooting 4-17 from the floor, thanks to their defensive priority on him.
First, Milwaukee blitzed pick and rolls with Mitchell, which is something he hasn't seen too frequently. There, he says, he just needs to remain calm and find the relief man, so that the Jazz can initiate a quick 4-on-3 offense.
But when Mitchell did beat his man, he found that there was help at the rim, waiting for him.
Donovan Mitchell got scouted a little bit tonight... look at Henson's patience here on the block, seemingly predicting Mitchell's timing: pic.twitter.com/KhGZlKolJe — Andy Larsen (@andyblarsen) December 10, 2017
He says then, he needs to "Just take the shots before I get to the rim with a floater, or find the open guys in the corner." The key is timing. If Mitchell can modulate his pace, he can slow down in the paint and make the best choice. !(https://beacon.deseretconnect.com/beacon.gif?cid=571846&pid=4)