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There was no black cloud hanging over the Jazz's practice facility Thursday, but there might as well have been with the news that Andrei Kirilenko will require surgery on his right ankle and likely miss three to four weeks recovering.
Kirilenko will have surgery to remove a bone fragment in the ankle Friday after trying unsuccessfully to put off the surgery until after the season and play through the discomfort with a series of cortisone shots.
"It's been brutal for us," Deron Williams said. "It's been tough. It seems like every game there's somebody new, somebody different. We haven't had the same lineup for more than a week it seems.
"It's been tough on us, but that's how it goes. We can't control injuries. We've just got to play through them and play around them."
The Jazz announced no timetable for his return, but Kirilenko suggested last month that recovery would last approximately three to four weeks. That would time Kirilenko's return with Carlos Boozer's sometime after the All-Star break.
"It's going to be tough," Deron Williams said. "Hopefully, his surgery goes good and he can come back as soon as possible. Get him and Booz back around the same time or close to the same time and then we can try to make the playoffs."
The Jazz have gone 0-4 since Kirilenko left their Jan. 20 victory over Minnesota with a recurrence of pain in his ankle. They have lost 116 games to injuries this season and dropped 1 1-2 games out of playoff position in the Western Conference.
They have a favorable schedule in February - - playing eight of 11 games at home - - but the question now is if the Jazz will be able to take full advantage playing without both Boozer and Kirilenko.
"While they're out, we've got to try to pick up the slack," Williams said. "Guys have got to step up."
The Jazz, meanwhile, hadn't heard one way or another Thursday, but were preparing to not have a player selected as an All-Star reserve. In Williams' case, it would be the third year in a row he was passed over for a spot.
"I was positive I was going to make it this year, but with the injuries and the team not doing well, there was no chance really," Williams said. "So I'm not mad. I was more mad last year, even more the year before that.
"This year I'm all right with it. I need the rest anyways, so I'll take me a nice vacation."