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News » The Ronnies return for Jazz

The Ronnies return for Jazz

The Ronnies return for Jazz After a day off, the Utah Jazz reconvened Sunday for their first post-preseason/pre-regular-season practice. Thanks to the return of the Ronnies, the Jazz almost even resembled a full Basketball team. That certainly wasn't the case in Utah's exhibition finale at Sacramento on Friday, when the Jazz dressed only nine players because of a slew of injuries. But after missing the win over the Kings, both Ronnie Brewer (back spasms) and Ronnie Price (strained left hamstring) returned to practice.

That gave Jazz coach Jerry Sloan 11 mostly healthy players to work with as the team prepares for Wednesday's 2009-10 NBA season-opener in Denver. "We'd always feel comfortable to have everybody here," Sloan said. "But that doesn't always work that way." Of course, with Matt Harpring (resting in Atlanta), Kyle Korver (gone for impending knee surgery) and C.J. Miles (present but with a cast on his left hand) not available, Sloan was happy just to have enough to scrimmage a bit. Brewer rejoined the team after not traveling to Arnold Schwarzenegger's stomping grounds because of his ailing back. His lower left side, which had been bothering him, seized up on the shooting guard when he woke up to get ready for last Thursday morning's practice. Brewer compared the initial pain in his back to the intensity of a leg cramp, but the starter said he has progressed with chiropractic treatment, a combination of ice and heat, anti-inflammatory medicine and time off. Sunday marked the first time he stepped on the Basketball court since Wednesday. "It loosened up a little bit," Brewer said, "and it feels a lot better than what it did before." Brewer said he feels it's "real urgent" that he returns to full health with the lack of active wings on the roster. "The numbers are real low," he said, knowing Utah only had nine guys Friday. "I know the problems that we had last year with the injuries and how important it is to have everybody out there and healthy, so I'm going to try to get back as soon as possible and try to contribute." Back pain and Brewer's style of slashing and athletic play, he admitted, don't exactly mix well. "A lot of my game is finishing at the rim," he said. "That's kind of tough, but I've been working with the trainers and they've done a good job of trying to get me ready." Brewer isn't sure what caused his back problems, whether the pain came from being banged around on screens during recent games or from the way he slept. Brewer also talked about the minor stir he caused by not showing up for practice on time Thursday. The team didn't know where he was or what was going on until he called part way through practice. Brewer called for a couple of reasons: 1. So he could explain his tardiness and whereabouts; and 2. So he could get a ballboy to come pick him up and give him a ride to the practice facility. "The day I was supposed to come to practice, I just couldn't move," he said. "And ... I called kind a later than I was supposed to, apparently." As for Price, he traveled with the team last week but couldn't play for the fourth game in a row due to his hammy woes. Price can jump up-and-down fine, but he has been working with trainers on restoring his ability to move laterally. Price is optimistic he'll be good to go by Wednesday night. Still, though he is improving, the athletic guard doesn't want to fully return to the court until he feels confident that he'll be able to help the Jazz with his energetic game and until his hamstring has healed and strengthened enough to avoid risking getting reinjured. He calls the couple of days left before the season starts "perfect for me." "I'm going to try to be smart about these days coming up to the game," Price said. "Just make sure that I don't do anything to set me back ... It's going to be a good three days of rehab." Jazz on the air Utah Jazz (0-0) at Denver Nuggets (0-0) Wednesday, 8:30 p.m. TV: ESPN Radio: 1320 AM, 98.7 FM e-mail:

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Added: October 27, 2009


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