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With Matt Harpring having gotten no closer than an NBA TV studio to playing this season, Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor said Monday that a final determination about Harpring's future is forthcoming.
"We're getting closer to making a decision obviously as we get deeper into the season," O'Connor said. "That's a conversation that we'll have sooner than later, and we'll have it before Christmas."
Harpring has remained on the Jazz's roster even though he hasn't been with the team this season. The 11-year veteran has struggled to overcome the effects of an ankle infection following surgery in June 2008 as well as multiple knee surgeries.
The Jazz are leaving up to Harpring the final decision about whether he can play. O'Connor has been updated on his status as the season has progressed, but when asked if Harpring had reported any improvement, O'Connor said, "No, he has not."
Harpring, who is making $6.5 million in the final year of his contract, is all but certain not to officially retire even if he decides his playing days are done. Harpring's agent, Richard Howell , didn't return a message Monday.
The Jazz would keep Harpring on the roster and be eligible to recover the majority of his salary through insurance. Harpring could be a valuable trade chip as an expiring contract, and the Jazz do not feel the need to free up his roster spot.
The team announced Sept. 23 that Harpring would miss training camp, preseason and the start of the regular season. Harpring has been home in Atlanta and done occasional television work this season.
Andrei Kirilenko missed Monday's game after leaving Saturday's victory over Portland in the second quarter with a strained lower back. The Jazz were left with just nine players in uniform for the seventh time in nine games.
Kirilenko said he hopes to return Friday against Indiana. He has battled back issues in previous seasons, missing three games in January 2008 as well as six games in the 2005-06 season.
"It is getting better, but it's still a little tight and lock me up. It's not really game feeling," Kirilenko said, adding, "It's lucky that we have three days in between the games and we have a chance to recover it a little better."
Paul Millsap did play after suffering a bruised left knee and also leaving Saturday's game in the second quarter. Although he described his knee as being "really sore" Sunday, Millsap took part in Monday's shootaround and said it was loosening up.
"I'm going to brace it up and just get out there," said Millsap, who described pain shooting up his leg after he originally suffered the bruise between his knee and calf.
C.J. Miles , meanwhile, plans to go through his first full practice Wednesday and make his return Friday. Miles might see limited minutes at first, but wants to play after missing 17 games following left thumb surgery. Miles went through shootaround Monday.