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Derrick Favors won't know until Wednesday if he's going to play against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Vivint Smart Home Arena.
But at least the signs are positive for the Utah Jazz starting power forward.
Favors practiced on Monday morning, doing almost everything, according to coach Quin Snyder. He was made available to the media, which doesn't happen unless it looks as if he's going to play. He will practice on Tuesday and go through Wednesday morning's shootaround.
So even if he doesn't make it back into the lineup by Wednesday night, Favors' rehabilitation from a bone contusion is trending upward.
"I want to play, I'm a competitor," Favors said. "At the same time, I want to be smart. I don't want to try and do too much, too soon. I want to get back into a rhythm and get into shape."
If Favors were to play, he'd likely come off the bench to start, and he'd very likely be on a minutes restriction. But even if Favors were to play 15 minutes against an OKC team that's loaded in the frontcourt, his presence would be of help.
The Jazz have been relying on Trey Lyles and Boris Diaw and Jeff Withey in support of Rudy Gobert. They've also gone small with three wing alignments for significant stretches, all in the name of making up for Favors' absence.
With Favors back in the lineup, Snyder could use him at power forward and at center when Gobert is off the floor. That move alone would help the Jazz even more defensively, because Favors is a good rim protector and defender in his own right.
"I'm going to go through practice and shootaround and talk to trainers," Favors said. "I'm going to see how I feel and then go from there. It's good to get out there and practice."
Rest and mental therapy
With the Jazz having three days off to prepare for Oklahoma City on Wednesday night, the team is doing a few things that aren't normally possible during the throes of an NBA season. Utah took Sunday off, which Gordon Hayward said he personally used for family time. On Monday, the Jazz took part in a brisk morning practice that was as much film and teaching as it was anything physical.
"I think it has been about rest as much as anything," Snyder said. "We're trying to get some mental precision. We want to get guys healthy, and the guys that are healthy, we want to get them fresh."
How good has Gobert been in the last 10 games? He's averaging 14.7 points, 13.4 rebounds and 3.4 blocks per game during that timeframe. The Jazz have won eight of those games, which has helped them to a 15-10 record.
Could be back
Shooting guard Rodney Hood also practiced on Monday. He didn't go through as much of the workout as Favors, but he seems to be healing from a strained hamstring. He's missed the last two games with the ailment.