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After years of rebuilding and trips to the lottery, the playoffs are once again within reach for the Utah Jazz. But with a month left in the season, Jazz coach Quin Snyder says he won't consider the season a failure if his squad fails to reach the postseason once again.

"Frankly, I don't know how it could be" considered a failure, Snyder said before listing off the injuries the Jazz have endured this year. "If you look at the adversity this team's been through, to set a mark like that … that doesn't really equate for me."

The Jazz sit in ninth place in the West,but find themselves within striking distance of the eighth-place Mavericks — especially given how difficult Dallas' upcoming schedule appears to be. That, of course, could change depending on the status of Gordon Hayward. The Jazz's leading scorer missed Monday's contest with plantar fasciitis, a foot injury that has been known to linger.

If Hayward can play, he certainly will. While Snyder has downplayed the importance of reaching the postseason, Hayward has spoken more equivocally about the need to play beyond mid-April.

"I think it's very important," Hayward said last week. "We've been talking about this the whole year. I think it's just time not to talk. We've just got to go out and play and we've got to make it happen or else it won't."

The process-oriented Snyder, meanwhile, has at least publicly has hedged when asked about the importance of the postseason. The experience would be welcomed, he said, but simply being in the playoff race this season would also have its benefits.

"It's not the end of the world for us to really compete and not make it," he said this week. "To be in a situation where you are in a competitive race is something that can help our team whether we're able to win that race, so to speak, and make it or not. It would be something that would be really good for our program. [But] the process of going through that challenge is good for us regardless of the result."

In his stead

Hayward's absence on Monday night yielded a more aggressive Rodney Hood, as the second-year shooting guard took more responsibility of the offense and scored 28.

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