Utah Jazz: Al Jefferson provides late-game spark over Magic
Jazz • But back spasms force hot-shooting center to leave early.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Al Jefferson sounded better than he looked late Wednesday night.

Jefferson had just scored 23 of his 31 points in the second half, leading the Jazz to an 87-81 victory over Orlando at EnergySolutions Arena.

Jefferson suffered back spasms, however, and left the game with 1:29 remaining.

In the locker room after Utah snapped a three-game losing streak, he needed help from assistant trainer Brian Zettler to put on his shoes.

Jefferson was injured when he reached back and grabbed a missed 3-point shot by J.J. Redick.

As the Jazz started up the floor, Jefferson fell to the court in pain. When he was helped up, he went to the locker room.

What happened on the rebound, which was contested by Orlando's Nikola Vucevic?

"I don't know, I have to watch it," Jefferson said. "I don't know if I came down kind of awkward or he hit me in my back or whatever. I really don't know. The way I feel I might have come down the wrong way or something."

After Jefferson's back-to-back baskets, the Jazz owned an 85-81 lead. But he could not continue.

"I'm pretty good with pain," Jefferson said, "but that was kind of tough for me."

According to Jefferson, he felt the same pain in his lower back during summer conditioning work at Peak Performance 3 in Santa Barbara, Calif.

His solution for the first injury: a custom-made $25,000 bed.

"I was sleeping on a soft bed," Jefferson said. "I went and saw this chiropractor who makes beds, and he made it just for my back. And the pain went away. ... It feels like the same thing. That's why I'm not too concerned."

Jefferson is listed as day-to-day. The Jazz play Toronto on Friday.

"I don't miss games, I don't miss games," Jefferson said. "I'll be ready to play [unless] I just can't walk. But I don't miss too many games. ... I'll be ready."

Jefferson was outstanding against Orlando, especially late.

In the final 2:28, Jefferson hit a floater from the lane to give the Jazz an 83-79 lead. With 1:51 remaining, Jefferson buried an 18-footer to make it 85-81.

"Just doing what I get paid to do," he said. " ... No disrespect to Orlando, but they are the type of team you can attack on the inside. That's what I did."

luhm@sltrib.com —

Jefferson jump-starts Jazz offense

• Al Jefferson scores 31 points to lead the Jazz to an 87-81 win over Orlando.

• Jefferson leaves the game with 1:29 remaining because of back spasms. He is listed day-to-day.

• Utah ends a three-game homestand Friday against Toronto.