Utah Jazz’s second-year center and defensive anchor, Walker Kessler, will be sidelined for a couple of weeks due to a sprained elbow, as announced by the team.
During Utah’s season-opening game versus Sacramento on Oct. 25, Walker Kessler sustained a UCL sprain in his left elbow. The injury was diagnosed by MRI testing after Kessler continued to play and experienced discomfort. Rest with non-contact activities has been recommended to…
— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) November 8, 2023
A UCL sprain, more commonly associated with baseball pitchers or other sports where players make a throwing motion, is less common in the NBA. The typical treatment involves rest (for anything but the most severe cases).
This setback adds to the challenges for the Jazz, who struggled with a 2-7 record at the beginning of the season, partly due to their defense ranking 29th in the league. In their first game without Kessler — a loss to the Pacers on Wednesday — coach Will Hardy opted for a small lineup, starting Lauri Markkanen at center and John Collins at the four with three guards (it was also the first start for rookie Keyonte George). This lineup showed promise at the start of the first and third quarters, but faltered late in the fourth when the game was on the line. Hardy could also turn to Kelly Olynyk or Omer Yurtseven at the five.
None of these options are ideal; the Jazz’s defense truly needs Kessler back and performing at the level he did in his rookie season.
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