Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert will be out for the next month with an injured right leg.
The 7’1” defensive player of the year candidate on Saturday had an MRI that revealed a bruised lower leg. Gobert was injured Friday when Heat guard Dion Waiters crashed into his leg, causing Gobert’s knee to buckle. The Frenchman did not play Saturday against the Nets, and the Jazz said he’ll be re-evaluated in four weeks.
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This is obviously a devastating loss for the Jazz, as Gobert is one of the best defensive players in the league, and leads the team in both rebounds and blocks. But, when looking at Utah’s schedule the next month or so, it’s clear that this was perhaps the worst time for Gobert to suffer such an injury.
From now until the end of December, 15 of Utah’s 24 games are against teams with a .500 record or better. That includes six games against the top four teams in the conference, and a stretch from Dec. 15-30 where they play the Boston Celtics,Cleveland Cavaliers, Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs, Thunder again, Denver Nuggets, Golden State Warriors, and Cavaliers again.
In Gobert’s absence, Jazz coach Quin Snyder will have to rely on Derrick Favors and Thabo Sefolosha to help pick up the slack. Against Brooklyn, Snyder used Sefolosha at power forward while sliding Favors to center and the project worked as Favors posted a season-high 24 points and 12 rebounds. Sefolosha ended with a plus-17 rating, but it’ll be tough to sustain that pace without the interior presence of Gobert.
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