Kirilenko's time in Utah could be winding down
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Andrei Kirilenko knows his Utah Jazz career could be winding down.
The 30-year-old Kirilenko, the longest tenured Jazz player, is in the final year of a six-year contract extension and becomes a free agent after the season.
Though he has indicated he wants to return, how much the rebuilding Jazz are willing to pay him will be an issue. He was to make $17.5 million this season, his 10th with Utah.
Kirilenko missed his third straight game Monday night and remains on crutches because of bruising to a nerve in his left knee.
“Again, as soon as I feel good, I'm going to get back,” said Kirilenko, who is averaging 11.7 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.3 steals, 1.2 blocks and 31.2 minutes this season. “I'm going to be smart definitely, but as ... long as I can feel and move and run, I'm back.”
Utah lost to Washington in overtime Monday night and fell to 36-39.
In what will go down as one of the strangest seasons in Jazz history, Kirilenko's injury ranks right up there.
He injured it Wednesday against Oklahoma City when he banged his knee during a screen, not on the next play when he fell down after making a steal. Kirilenko said it's almost the same feeling as hitting a funny bone in his elbow, only constant.
“It's a little bit funny pain, which is not fun,” he said of the numbness. “It's kind of like paralyzing a little bit but it's getting better now.”
Until Monday he wasn't even able to receive electrical stimulation to treat it because it was so inflamed. He expects to start working out again Tuesday.
“It's difficult for him,” Jazz coach Ty Corbin said. “I know he wants to play and injuries you can't control. Until the nerve gets better, he can't play.”
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