The Jazz's bench could be longer for Tuesday's showdown with Phoenix than it has been in more than a month.
Veterans Josh Howard and Raja Bell practiced without limitations Monday morning. Barring a setback in their recovery from knee injuries, they will likely be on the active roster against the Suns.
Neither Howard nor Bell will play much. They are likely to be rusty since being injured in mid-March. In addition, Utah's current nine-man rotation has been effective.
"It would be difficult for them," coach Tyrone Corbin said, referring to Howard and Bell. "They are veteran guys, but their bodies are not used to the tempo of playing at this point. It would be tough to throw them out there. ... We want to make sure we do the right thing."
On the other hand, Howard and Bell are two of Utah's best defenders and 3-point shooters, so they could be valuable in specific situations.
Howard, sidelined since March 18, shoots 39.7 percent from the 3-point line. Bell, out since March 15, shoots 40.7 percent.
According to Howard, he's "feeling good" and isn't worried about his role upon returning.
"We haven't had discussions on it," he said. "[But] whatever coach wants to do, he's going to do. I'll just be there ready to give my all."
Asked if his return might unintentionally disrupt the Jazz's chemistry, Howard said, "I've been around long enough to know how to play with guys. Disruption or not, I'm going to go out there and play my game and do what I was doing before I left."
Said Corbin: "We'll see what gives us the best chance. We're playing pretty well right now the way we are. But we do need him. If we get into the playoffs, we need everybody, and the experience that he and Raja have will help us."
NBA Players Association president Derek Fisher and executive director Billy Hunter are locked in a power struggle.
Fisher has called for a review of the union's finances while the executive board, at Hunter's urging, has asked for Fisher's resignation.
Bell is the Jazz's player representative.
"I think it's a mess right now," he said. "It's unfortunate it's come to this point, but I don't know the backstory. I don't know who did what to who and how long it's been festering. So I guess I'll reserve judgment until I get all the facts."
According the Bell, the situation gives NBA players "a black eye. We want to portray a better image than that and know we can keep our stuff in-house and private when we need to. The fact it hasn't been handled like that is disappointing."
Bell said he would "absolutely not" ever want to be president of the union.
Jazz forward Paul Millsap will pay close attention to the outcome of the 2012 NBA Development League best-of-three finals between Austin and Los Angeles, which start Tuesday.
Millsap's brother, Elijah, is a key member of the D-Fenders, averaging 23.3 points and 5.8 rebounds this season.
"I'm proud of him," Millsap said. "He has continued to fight. He hasn't accomplished what he has set out to accomplish yet. But he's still in there fighting hasn't given up on it and now he's in a championship series. Hopefully they come out with a win."
Will Elijah Millsap, a 6-foot-6 wing player, ever get a shot to play in the NBA?
"It would make sense, but you never know," his brother said. "The thing I tell him is, 'Continue to be patient and work hard and at the end of the day it pay off for you.' "
There is another Utah connection to the D-League finals.
Brad Jones, formerly of the Utah Flash, is the head coach at Austin.
Sloan in house
Former Jazz coach Jerry Sloan attended Saturday night's 117-107 overtime win over Orlando.
It was the first time Sloan saw a game at EnergySolutions Arena since he abruptly resigned 14 months ago.
Corbin did not talk to Sloan but said, "It was tremendous to see him at a game. It was great to see him sitting and enjoying watching basketball."