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SACRAMENTO, Calif. - After all the speculation last summer about his free-agent future, all the stories that keep coming back to South Beach, now Carlos Boozer is going to sit out tonight's game against the Miami Heat with a strained left quadriceps tendon?
"I've been playing against them in the summertime all summer anyway," Boozer said, laughing.
Boozer missed his seventh game Tuesday since suffering the injury Nov. 19 and isn't likely to return this week. He worked out in a pool Monday, which gave him the chance to run and build confidence in his knee, but acknowledged he is not healing as fast as he would like.
"It's still getting stronger, but the pain is still there a little bit," Boozer said. "It is getting better, it is getting better, which is a great sign. It's just not strong enough for me to run full speed and cut and do those type of things. I'm probably maybe a week away."
As often as the Heat have been reported to have interest in signing him away from the Jazz, Boozer won't get the chance to audition tonight. The Jazz and Heat play in Miami on March 14.
He said the subject won't die as long as he lives in Miami and works out with Dwyane Wade, Udonis Haslem and Alonzo Mourning in the summer. "People want to talk about stuff, they're going to talk about it anyway," Boozer said.
Boozer can opt out of his contract after this season and become a free agent, though the Jazz could re-sign him for more than any competing team. The Jazz question whether Miami has the cap space as well as whether Boozer and No. 2 overall pick Michael Beasley play the same position.
Andrei Kirilenko joined Boozer on the sidelines Tuesday, but reported marked improvement in his irritated right ankle two days after receiving a cortisone shot.
"For 48 hours, it's a huge improvement," Kirilenko said. "Because like yesterday I felt like I couldn't walk at all and today I feel like good. We'll see tomorrow. I think tomorrow is a crucial day to see how it will respond."
Depending on how he feels, Kirilenko might receive a second cortisone shot. He added that he will undergo arthroscopic surgery this summer to clean out the ankle, with a typical recovery time of three to four weeks.
Brevin Knight was in uniform after missing three games with a strained left index finger. That left the Jazz with three healthy point guards for only the third game this season. . . . Ronnie Price rejoined the team after attending his uncle's funeral in Houston.