Utah Jazz big man Derrick Favors and guard Rodney Hood both struggled in their return to the team’s starting five against the Los Angeles Lakers.
With the Utah Jazz ailing, the big hope for fans of the team entering the Christmas break was that they could come back healthy after several days off. Progress was made in this regard as Rodney Hood was deemed close to 100 percent and Derrick Favors returned to the starting lineup in Tuesday’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers.
However, the duo clearly has work to do to get back into the swing of things.
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Hood managed 25 minutes, but looked out of sync all night long, hitting just 1-of-7 shots and failing to score until late in the fourth quarter. Favors fared better, but failed to make a major impact against the Lakers, scoring eight points and grabbing six rebounds in 22 minutes of play.
Nevertheless, the Jazz managed to win the game, 102-100, on the back of a 31-point night from Gordon Hayward and some big shots from Joe Ingles.
“It felt good to be back out there and get some reps. So hopefully, I can just improve off that. I feel good physically, I’m not in pain or anything. So it’s all about getting back into a rhythm. I lost a month to the injury, so it definitely felt good being back in the starting lineup.”
Favors, who had returned on December 16 after missing several weeks with a left knee bruise, was making his first start since Mid-November. While it may not have been the kind of performance fans have come to expect from the big man, it was a positive step on his road to recovery.
Meanwhile, Hood had been limited to just 24 total minutes over the previous three contests as he battled the flu. According to Jazz coach Quin Snyder, Hood’s illness was so severe that he lost 12 pounds in a week’s time.
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As with Favors, it’s going to take time and reps with his teammates to get back up to speed. Utah’s starting shooting guard only missed a handful of games with the illness, but has also dealt with hamstring issues this season. The fact that he was able to play 25 minutes was probably a feat in and of itself.
Chances are that both Hood and Favors will have more nights like this in the coming weeks. That is to be expected given their respective situations. The important thing now is that they’re able to stay on the floor and make progress toward getting healthy.
It’s something the Jazz, as a team, haven’t really been all season. The sooner they can get there, the sooner they’ll become the team fans expected to see entering the season. However, recovery isn’t a single event, it’s an ongoing process.