As he tried on a nasal strip before practice Monday, soliciting opinions about whether or not they work, Deron Williams might have wanted to reconsider anything new.
After all, Williams has appeared in recent games to have turned a corner on the sprained ankle, sinus infection and everything else that contributed to a frustrating first half of the season for the All-NBA guard.
"I feel a lot better," said Williams, who has averaged 26.3 points and 9.5 assists the past four games. "I'm starting to get my legs back. The little nagging injuries are going away, so I definitely feel good."
The Jazz (24-17) will open the second half of their season tonight against Minnesota at EnergySolutions Arena, but Williams has noticed the games against Houston, Cleveland, Denver, San Antonio and Portland that await before the end of January.
"It's a good test for us, you know, see where we're at, see how competitive we are," Williams said. "I think these are games that we should look forward to against division rivals, against teams that are at the top of our conference. It'll be fun."
After undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his injured left knee Jan. 9, Carlos Boozer did return to Utah over the weekend to start his rehab program. Boozer will remain with the team until returning to Los Angeles on Jan. 29 to be re-examined.
In his ear
Williams soon will debut his own line of headphones and earphones with Park City-based Skullcandy. He said the idea was born after he sat next to a company representative on a flight to Los Angeles two years ago, with the two staying in touch since.
The Jazz will be on the court for their pregame shootaround when Barack Obama takes the oath of office this morning, but Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said he had not been approached by a player asking to change the time.
Jazz vs. Minnesota
At EnergySolutions Arena
Time » 7 p.m.
TV » FSN Utah
Radio »1320 AM, 98.7 FM
Records » Jazz 24-17, Minnesota 13-26
Last meeting » Jazz won 99-96 on Dec. 9
Line » Jazz by 9
About the Jazz » The Jazz welcomed Kevin McHale back to coaching with a 99-96 victory last month in McHale's first game after taking over for Randy Wittman. McHale has gone 9-11 as Minnesota's interim coach.
About the Timberwolves » Minnesota has opened 2009 by winning seven of eight games, including a 94-86 victory Monday over the L.A. Clippers.