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Alec Burks playing in Jazz-Clippers tonight

Utah Jazz v Portland Trail Blazers

Utah Jazz v Portland Trail Blazers

NBAE/Getty Images

When will Alec Burks play again for the Jazz?

That confusing question finally has a resolution.

Mike Sorensen of the Deseret News:

More than three months after he went down with a broken left fibula that was only supposed to keep him out for a couple of months, Alec Burks will finally be returning to the Jazz lineup for Friday’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers, according to sources in the Jazz organization.

Utah is in good shape, but still hasn’t clinched a playoff berth. The three teams fighting for the West’s final two spots:

  • 7. Mavericks, 40-38
  • 8. Jazz, 39-39
  • 9. Rockets, 38-41

Before you write off the Rockets, consider how easy their closing schedule is: vs. Lakers, at Timberwolves, vs. Kings (though if Houston can’t beat the Suns…).

Doc Rivers has talked about resting his starters tonight, which would obviously help the Jazz. But Burks provides the biggest boost, because he can contribute in a likely playoff appearance.

Burks’ absence has allowed Rodney Hood room to come into his own, but a healthy Burks would still upgrade the rotation over Chris Johnson.

If Burks is rusty to the point he’s unproductive, playing him without a playoff spot secured is risky. But if he can play well enough to contribute while shaking off the cobwebs, that should make Utah a tougher out in the first round.