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Another surgery for Jazz backcourt

Another surgery for Jazz backcourt SACRAMENTO ? Then there were nine. With word coming Friday morning that shooting guard Kyle Korver will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his left knee that will keep him out of their 2009-10 NBA regular-season opener Wednesday at Denver and for a stretch of time beyond, the Jazz were down to that many healthy players for their preseason finale ? a 95-85 win at Sacramento on Friday night.

The loss of Korver ? he'll have surgery Tuesday in New York to remove a patellar tendon-related bone spur that's kept him out of all but one of Utah's eight exhibition games ? was yet another blow to an already decimated Jazz perimeter. "But it is what it is," said point guard Deron Williams, who led Utah with 19 points ? matching Paul Millsap for team-high honors ? and 11 assists while logging a game-high 41 minutes. "You've got to roll with the punches." There have been plenty already for a team beat up most of last season, too. Veteran small forward Matt Harpring is pondering retirement due to chronic knee and ankle injuries, and incumbent starting small forward C.J. Miles is recovering from recent surgery to repair a ruptured shooting-hand thumb ligament. Starting shooting guard Ronnie Brewer stayed home from this trip with back spasms, and combo guard Ronnie Price traveled here ? but wound up missing a fourth straight preseason game because of a strained left hamstring. "These things happen during the season," said coach Jerry Sloan, who wasn't at all happy with the Jazz's defense Friday. "You've got to play, and try to get ready to do what you can to win a ballgame. You know, we'd like to spend four, five weeks concerned about it ? but our job is still the same. "We'll still run the same plays. ... We're not gonna all of a sudden change our offense." Even if no more than 11 healthy players (one fewer than permitted) are available for the opener, and that will be the case even if both Brewer and Price recover. "We can't do anything about that," Sloan said. "We just take what we've got, and go on down the road. "Guys are gonna get to play a few minutes maybe more than what they've played. And if you like to play, what could be better?" All of which means additional playing time for Price at shooting guard if he's available, more for apparent starting small forward Andrei Kirilenko and perhaps added minutes at small forward and center for backup power forward Paul Millsap. Moreover, the need for Williams ? and others inside ? to produce points is amplified. "I have no problem with that," said Wiliams, who out of necessity spent much time playing shooting guard next to rookie point Eric Maynor against the Kings. "I'm going to do everything I can to keep the team on top of the West. "You know, I can score with the best of 'em, I feel. And I also can pass the ball. "So, whoever's gonna step up ? myself to Booz (Carlos Boozer) to Memo (Mehmet Okur) to A.K. (Kirilenko). Hopefully A.K. can come in and help us out. Paul (Millsap). I mean, we've got guys that can score on this team." What the Jazz won't have, though, is a bona fide long-distance threat besides pop-out center Okur and Williams when he's hot. How long they'll be without one depends largely on the recovery period for both Korver, who underwent offseason surgery to clean up his damaged shooting-hand wrist and has been bothered all month by knee inflammation, and Miles. The Jazz say there's no cartilage, ligament or tendon tears for Korver, but just how long he'll be out depends largely on how surgery goes. "It's been tough on him. Tough on C.J. (Miles) as well," Williams said. "Those two guys we were expecting big things out of this year. "We know Kyle (Korver) wasn't healthy all last year. The wrist bothered him," the Jazz point added. "He thought that was behind him now, and he could finally become the shooter we need. "And now he's out with a knee, so it's very frustrating." Perhaps not nearly as maddening, though, as finding imaginative ways to win with nine. "I don't know if it's creative," Sloan said afterward, "any more than it is guessing your way through it." NOTES: The Jazz seem to be leaning toward exercising its $1.2 million third-year option on center Kosta Koufos' rookie contract before an end-of-the-month deadline for doing so, but no formal decision has been made. "You evaluate every issue," general manager Kevin O'Connor said. Koufos had seven points and seven rebounds in 22 minutes Friday, but shot just 3-for-10. ... Alumni update: According to the Web site, ex- Jazz big man Michael Ruffin, waived earlier this week by Oklahoma City, has signed "a monthly contract" with the Spanish ACB League club Basquet Manresa. ... Longtime Kings guard Bobby Jackson officially announced his retirement prior to Friday's game. Jackson, who played for six teams over 12 NBA seasons ? half of them in Sacramento ? will join the Kings' front office in a still-to-be-defined capacity. e-mail:

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Added: October 25, 2009


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