Improving Watson may play tonight vs. Milwaukee

In NBA injury parlance, “day-to-day” is an improvement over “doubtful” and a whole lot better than “out.”

Following Wednesday’s shootaround at EnergySolutions Arena, the Utah Jazz officially listed point guard Earl Watson as “day-to-day,” an upgrade from his previous status: “doubtful.”

Watson, 33, hasn’t played since a 22-minute effort Feb. 1 vs. the Portland Trail Blazers. Even before then he was hurting, but that night he said his right leg worsened as the game went on.

An MRI revealed a bone bruise and a small stress fracture. He suffered the injuries late during a Jan. 30 home victory over New Orleans.

Watson’s status for tonight’s game vs. the Milwaukee Bucks has yet to be determined.

“I feel good, I’m getting better,” he said. “The injury I have is unique, it’s day-to-day. It can change throughout the day so I try to stay positive and just take it in the moment and try to capture each moment and whatever I can do in that moment just take advantage of it.”

The Jazz will once again be without starting point guard Mo Williams (thumb surgery) and swingman Gordon Hayward (right shoulder sprain). Getting Watson back would help add depth to their depleted backcourt, which included minutes at the point from shooting guards Randy Foye and Alec Burks during Monday’s overtime victory over Sacramento.

The combination of Burks and Foye was effective and a viable option for coach Tyrone Corbin. However, if Watson can go he could provide depth behind starter Jamaal Tinsley, who is shooting just 36.6 percent from the field this season.

The words “stress fracture” associated with Watson’s injury sound ominous, but he said he isn’t concerned about it.

“It’s not concerning, it’s small,” he said. “It’s not cracked all the way through. I felt it when I got hit, I knew something was wrong. It was an odd collision, from the side, which is more of a football collision. Guys playing hard, sometimes things happen. You can’t really be upset with it.”

The 2011-12 season ended early for Watson last April when he tore the medial meniscus in his right knee. He worked hard throughout the off season and well into the 2012-13 regular season to bounce back from the surgery.

When a New Orleans player kneed him in the right knee late in the Jan. 30 game, Watson hopped around the floor for a few seconds before returning to the Jazz locker room. Afterward he said he knew the play wasn’t intentional, but called it “an idiot play.”

“I’m not trying to say he was trying to hurt me, but don’t do anything careless,” he said after the game.

Watson said he wants to come back in order to help his teammates but also added he loves playing basketball and simply wants to get back on the court.

“I try to come back as soon as possible anyway because I think its a small window of opportunity you have to play in the NBA and to play basketball,” he said. “I want to take advantage of it, compete and have fun. That’s what I live to do. For me, I want to get back because I love the game and (also) because I want to help my team.”


About Jim Burton

Jim Burton has worked for the Standard-Examiner since 1991. He has covered everything from the preps to Utah, BYU, Weber State and the Ogden Raptors. Currently he is the Standard's Utah Jazz beatwriter and its sports columnist.
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