By Randy Renner
Thunder backup point guard Reggie Jackson didn't practice with the team Saturday after suffering a sprain in his mid-back area during Thursday's practice session.
Jackson did not play against the Sacramento Kings Friday night, his availability for Sunday's game against Utah is up in the air.
"At game time we'll see how he feels," Thunder head coach Scott Brooks said after practice.
Jackson wears a heating pad on his back while on the bench during games but that's mostly just to help keep him warm and loose more than anything else.
The injury isn't believed to be serious or cause Jackson to be out for an extended period of time. He appeared to be in good spirits leaving the arena last night.
Jackson has started 33 games for the Thunder this season, filling in for Russell Westbrook. Westbrook is being held out of one game of Thunder back-to-back sets and the next one of those is coming up next week when the Thunder host San Antonio on Thursday and then fly to Houston to meet the Rockets on Friday night.
Before the Thunder has to cross that bridge they have the Utah Jazz to worry about in here on Sunday afternoon.
Oklahoma City blew out the Jazz the last time the teams played inside The Peake but both games in Salt Lake City were close, in fact the Jazz beat the Thunder there in January.
"We had trouble staying in front of (Gordon) Hayward he was making shots, I think he only missed two or three, he was coming off of screens clean and getting open looks and that's a problem."
It certainly was that night. Hayward scored 37 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in a 112-101 Utah win. The Jazz shot 58.8 percent overall and 44 percent from deep.
The Thunder have had those pesky off and on problems with their perimeter defense lately so keeping track of Hayward will be a top priority.
The Jazz also have threats down low with Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter.
"Those bigs have done a good job of improving over the last couple of years and they go to them, they play the power game. A lot of teams down't do that but they look to score with those two guys."
The Thunder really controlled Sacramento's low post game Friday night, taking DeMarcus Cousins, who came in averaging a double-double, completely out of his game with only four points and four rebounds.
"I thought Steven (Adams) and Hash (Thabeet) did a really good job of getting into him. They made his catches very tough and we have to do the same thing tomorrow. Don't give those guys (Kanter and Favors) deep low post position and when they do catch it stay between the man and the basket and make sure they shoot with a hand in their face."
The Jazz lost Friday night in New Orleans 102-95 and are now 23-50 on the season. This, just like Friday's game with the Kings, is another one the Thunder need to focus in on and take it right to the opposition.
Remember it's a 2 o'clock tip Sunday afternoon, rather than the usual 6 pm start. The Thunder are doing a little experimenting to see if fans prefer an early afternoon game rather than the evening tip time.