Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley likely to return Saturday against Kings

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SALT LAKE CITY — Mike Conley is about to return.

The Utah Jazz have updated Conley’s status to probable for Saturday’s home game, making it likely that Utah’s starting point guard will suit up against the Sacramento Kings.

Conely has missed all but one of the last 20 games with a left hamstring strain. He initially suffered the injury in a loss to Philadelphia on Dec. 2 before reaggravating it in a win over the Magic on Dec. 17.

After the Magic game, the Jazz opted to take the cautious route, even keeping Conley home from a three-game road trip at the beginning of January so he could rehab.

Conley has participated in post-shootaround and practice activities for much of the last month, and now, he looks to be cleared to return to game action.

In Conley’s absence, the Jazz have caught fire. The Jazz have gone 15-4 in the 19 games that Conley missed and had won 10 games in a row before Thursday's loss to the Pelicans.

But most of those wins have come against sub-.500 teams and the Jazz know they'll need Conley to match up against the top teams in the league.

Conley, though, has struggled at times this season. He’s averaging 13.6 points, 4.6 assists and is only shooting 36.5% from the field (he is hitting 36% from 3, though). For a player that has averaged over 20 points in his last two healthy seasons, including scoring 21.1 just last year, those numbers are lower than anticipated.

But that doesn't mean he hasn't been helping the team.

Three of the five of the Jazz’s most-used five-man lineups feature Conley. All of them have a positive net rating and all have an offensive rating of at least 115.5.

The starting lineup featuring Conley, Donovan Mitchell, Royce O'Neale, Bojan Bogdanovic and Rudy Gobert was outscoring opponents by 17.2 points per 100 possessions.

Saturday's tip-off is at 7 p.m.

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