SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Udoka Azubuike is listed as probable for the Utah Jazz as they prepare to face the Denver Nuggets on Friday night.
The 2020 first-round pick for the Jazz left the Jazz in late January to joining the Salt Lake City Stars for the abbreviated D League season in Orlando.
However, Azubuike suffered a gruesome-looking ankle injury in his Stars debut and missed the remainder of the minor league season.
Azubuike hasn’t played for the Jazz since January 29, missing 47 consecutive games since his last appearance.
In April, Azubuike shared photos of himself getting a COVID-19 vaccine and walking into the Jazz practice facility without a branch on his ankle.
“He’s working really hard,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “You think about what he’s been through in his rookie year from the time that the college season was canceled last year, and waiting through the entire process of the draft, then joining a team where he’s playing behind Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors.”
Azubuike appeared in 12 games for the Jazz early in the season where he averaged 1.0 points and 1.1 rebounds in just 4.1 minutes of action. The former Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year scored eight points and grabbed 11 rebounds for the Stars before injuring his ankle in the Orlando bubble during his G League debut.
“Getting an opportunity to go to the bubble and getting a chance to compete, then getting hurt and having to come back. There’s a grind there,” Snyder said. “And he’s had to fight through it and he’s done a good job.”
Though Azubuike is listed as probable, the Jazz will be without Donovan Mitchell (ankle), Mike Conley (hamstring), and Juwan Morgan (heel) when they host the Nuggets.