SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Mike Conley continues to make progress on his injured hamstring. The guard will play his first set of back-to-back games since the original injury when the Utah Jazz face Portland Trail Blazers tonight at Vivint Arena.
Conley first experienced hamstring tightness on February 5 against the Charlotte Hornets which caused him to miss the next six games. The All-Star guard returned on February 19 against the Los Angeles Clippers but has sat on either the front or back end of back-to-back games over the last seven weeks.
In total, Conley missed 10 games, with four coming as part of rest when the Jazz played on back-to-back nights. The guard played 35 minutes on Wednesday against the Phoenix Suns and scored 11 points on 5-16 shooting.
“Because our team is balanced there’s a continuity that we’re able to play through guys being out,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “But having everybody healthy is obviously better.”
Despite Conley’s career year and the fact that he ranks second in the NBA in total plus-minus, the Jazz were surprisingly successful when the guard missed games. With Conley sidelined, the Jazz won nine out of 10 games with their lone loss coming on the road against the Washington Wizards.
Though Conley appears set to return to the lineup for his first back-to-back, the Jazz will be without Sixth Man of the Year front runner Jordan Clarkson. The high-scoring guard sprained an ankle in Wednesday night’s loss and will miss his first game of the season tonight.
Despite the absence, Snyder said it does create more opportunities for the rest of the team to connect.
“Our lineups have been so regular that even when certain guys are out the way that we play our substitutions that guys kind of find a groove with one another,” Snyder said. “So it’s always good to have that opportunity especially when you’ve got multiple pick and roll players and multiple shooters. I think those guys have a chance to connect even more.”
The Jazz and Blazers tip-off at 8 pm MT on AT&T SportsNet.