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Report: Rodney Hood to returns to lineup

Rodney Hood returns to the court for the first time since February 1st.

NBA: Orlando Magic at Utah Jazz Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Rodney Hood is set to make his second return from injury this year after sustaining a Grade 1 LCL sprain on the outside ligament of his right knee. As most will remember this was the same knee that he suffered a right knee bone bruise that cost him 5 games just a few weeks prior to the nasty injury.

For those who don’t remember Rodney Hood’s injury, it came against the Milwaukee Bucks—coincidentally, the Utah Jazz play them tonight in Milwaukee—on a routine drive to the basket. It was a non-contact injury and the Utah Jazz should consider themselves lucky that Rodney Hood only had to sit out most of February before he had to return.

Prior to the injury Rodney Hood was averaging 13.7 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game. For those expecting Rodney Hood to take the big leap this year, they have been sorely disappointed. While Rodney Hood continues to be a streaky shooter who can light up a game, he also is a player who has struggled with injuries throughout the year.

Don’t expect Rodney Hood to play many minutes tonight or start. The Utah Jazz probably want to bring Hood along slowly considering he’s suffered to injuries to the same knee only weeks apart. No use pushing him too hard then losing him for the rest of the season.

We anticipate Utah to keep their starting lineup of George Hill, Joe Ingles, Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, and Rudy Gobert intact with the bench lineup becoming Exum, Burks, Hood, Johnson, and Boris Diaw/Trey Lyles.

The other wrinkle to this whole story is Dante Exum. In Rodney Hood’s absence, Dante Exum has stepped up his game. For the month of February he has capitalized on the minutes gap left by Rodney Hood. Dante Exum has been averaging 7.6 points, 1.6 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 0.5 steals in only 16.5 minutes a game. That might not seem like a ton, but if you push Dante up to Rodney Hood’s allotted time on the court you get 16.6 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 1.1 steal a game. The better part is he’s averaging a +/- of +6.5 with a +/- on the road of +12.4.