Jody Genessy of the Deseret News reports that Utah Jazz forward Derrick Favors will miss the team’s season opener Tuesday night against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Favors has been dealing with some pain in his left knee after sustaining a bone bruise during the preseason. The injury forced him to miss Utah’s final five preseason games, though he was able to partake in the last couple of practices in a limited capacity. Still, the team clearly does not think he’s ready for game action, so he’ll be sidelined.
Genessy reports that veteran Boris Diaw will start in Favors’ place, with second-year forward Trey Lyles surely set to see an increase in minutes.
Favors quietly blossomed last season for the Jazz when he posted a career-high in scoring average (16.4) to go along with 8.1 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in 62 games. It’s the latest in a series of injury blows for the Jazz, who will also be without swingman Gordon Hayward and guard Alec Burks. Hayward is expected to miss the first few weeks of the season after suffering a broken finger on his left hand during the preseason. Burks underwent offseason surgery on his left ankle and knee after being limited to just 31 games last season due to ankle and knee trouble.
This puts a bit of a damper on the high expectations the Jazz are carrying into the regular season. They fortified their young roster with a trio of stable veterans over the summer (George Hill, Joe Johnson, Diaw) and many expect them to contend for a top-four spot in the Western Conference. Johnson is expected to start in Hayward’s place.