George Hill has sprained toe as Jazz hit with injury bug again

Utah Jazz's George Hill, left, drives around Minnesota Timberwolves' Nemanja Bjelica of Serbia in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game Monday, Nov. 28, 2016, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
AP Photo/Jim Mone

Right when it looked like the Utah Jazz were trending in the right direction, another rash of injuries hit. Point guard George Hill will miss Thursday night’s game against the Miami Heat with a sprained left toe, while swingman Rodney Hood is questionable with a strained hamstring. Starting power forward Derrick Favors remains out with a left knee contusion.

Hill had just returned from an eight-game absence due to a sprained thumb. He played in four games since returning, and the Jazz won all four of those games. Utah is 8-3 with the veteran guard in the lineup and just 3-5 without him. Furthermore, the Jazz have outscored their opponents by 14.3 points per 100 possessions in the 360 minutes he’s played, per NBA.com. That’s the best on-court net rating of all the team’s regular rotation players.

Hill’s averaging 20.0 points, 4.2 assists and 3.5 rebounds in 32.7 minutes per game. The 30-year-old is shooting 53.4 percent overall and 45.6 percent from long range. His 66.7 true shooting percentage is tied for seventh among qualified players, and his 25.49 PER is 16th. He’s seventh among point guards in RPM, per ESPN.

Dante Exum is expected to start at point guard in place of Hill.

Hood is also enjoying a solid season, although not quite as prolific as Hill. The 24-year-old is averaging 16.1 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists while shooting 44.2 percent overall and 37.7 percent from long range in 31.5 minutes per game.

Utah’s 11-8 record is good for seventh in the Western Conference. The Heat are just 6-12 and dealing with a rash of injuries of their own, although they came up with a surprising win in Denver on Wednesday night.

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