The Utah Jazz announced today that they evaluated Walker Kessler’s elbow injury and he has been cleared for basketball contact.
Walker Kessler (left elbow ulnar collateral ligament sprain) continues to make progress and has been cleared to begin basketball contact this week.— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) November 20, 2023
The injury was sustained during Utah’s season-opening game against Sacramento on Oct. 25. He will be reevaluated in one week. pic.twitter.com/1AuroWBwHv
The Jazz mention that he’ll be re-evaluated in one week which means a return to the Jazz seems like it’s getting close. The initial report from the Jazz was that Kessler would be evaluated after two weeks, which would have been this Wednesday, so this report is actually ahead of schedule. We likely get the next report next Monday and we’ll see if that comes with a possible return to play.
Kessler’s time off has coincided with Keyonte George starting. In those last five games the Jazz have gone 2-3 with the #7 rated offense in the league and the #27 ranked defense. The question for Utah will be who goes to the bench when Kessler gets back? The Jazz desperatly need to improve defensively if they want to win some of these close games they’ve been losing, but will they be able to sustain what they’re doing with Kessler coming back? It’s likely Ochai Agbaji that goes to the bench so the Jazz keep Jordan Clarkson on the floor but Agbaji’s defense has been looking very good lately and so there’s a tradeoff. Will the Jazz make a surprise move moving Clarkson to the bench for Agbaji to settle in? Or will they ease Kessler back into the lineup with minutes off the bench? We’ll find out soon.