Multiple sources are also reporting that Utah Jazz starting guard Raja Bell is doubtful for tonight's game against the Houston Rockets. (Again, here's the SL Trib's report) In Raja's case it's a strained left adductor. He has missed a number of games for this injury, which sidelined him before the All-Star Break. Beyond logic, the Jazz miss Raja Bell a bit more than Millsap right now. Paul isn't playing at an All-Star level anymore, and Bell plays tough defense on guards (our main problem this year), and is able to spread the floor by hitting threes (our second main problem this year). In fact, Raja is far and away our best outside shooter this season.
Raja's adductor strain is a problem because it's the type of injury you get from rapid lateral movement, having to use cat light reflexes to quickly change direction to keep up with quick guards with even quicker first steps -- it's not like Raja is going to get better soon. Only thing for him to do is get rest. This isn't the type of injury you can really play through. And it's an acute injury, not a 'wear and tear' injury like what Paul Millsap has.
To be fair, this is the perfect situation for the Jazz to take advantage of Raja's injury. I've long contended that Head Coach Tyrone Corbin has been stealth tanking for a while -- out of self preservation instincts. Not being able to play one of our two best guards (outside of the first week of the season) is surely going to help our team lose games, while saving face. Raja plays only 24.4 mpg, and the last few games in his absence we're seeing more of Josh Howard (who starts and bumps Gordon Hayward down to SG), C.J. Miles, and Alec Burks.
The Last few days we've been looking at our 5 man wing rotation and felt like going down to 4 men wasn't a bad idea. This injury allows us to do just that. Of course, I'm going to agree with myself here. It's not like Raja Bell could gain anything from playing and losing. He's a vet's vet right now. But early minutes for Alec Burks (rookie), and more consistent time at guard for Gordon Hayward (soph) right now (regardless of winning or losing) would pay dividends in the future.
There's a lot of silver lining for the Jazz right now, despite being on the verge of a 5 game losing streak.