On Thursday, Utah Jazz center Udoka Azubuike practiced with the team for the first time in seven months. He finally received permission to play.
“I was very excited about it,” Azubuike told reporters. “We did some drills in the morning before practice, and that felt good. Then, I go out there, I get a rep and you know, I’m just happy. I felt really good. “
According to several NBA betting sites, the Jazz have the third-lowest odds to win the championship in 2023.
— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) October 9, 2022
In March, the 6’10” big man underwent right foot surgery that sidelined him for the rest of the 2021-22 season. The 23-year-old is recovering from an ankle injury he suffered while with the team’s NBA G League affiliate, the Salt Lake City Stars.
Azubuike continued: “It is very difficult because I want to be able to be there with my teammates. “I want to compete, I want to play. But, I approach it with a different mindset, doing what I can and only I can do.”
Udoka Azubuike has been practicing with Jazz for the first time since March
After recovering from an injury, one of the first things on an NBA player’s mind after returning to the court is staying healthy. Even a minor injury destroys a player’s confidence and affects the players psychologically.
In the past, the Stars have suffered a lot of injuries in a short amount of time, for example: Klay Thompson, Anthony Davis, Derrick Rose and Blake Griffin.
The Jazz also selected Azubuike 27th overall out of Kansas in the 2020 NBA Draft. In his rookie season, he averaged 1.1 points and shot 44.4% from the field in 15 games off the bench.
Udoka Azubuike said he doesn’t expect to play much in the Jazz’s final preseason game against Dallas tomorrow.
— Andy Larsen (@andyblarsen) October 13, 2022
In 17 games last season, Azubuike averaged 4.7 points and 4.2 boards per game. Additionally, he averaged 11.5 minutes, shooting 75.5% from the floor.
In six games against the Salt Lake City Stars during the 2021-22 season, the Kansas product averaged 7.7 points, 11 rebounds and 1 assist. And he shot 60% from the field while playing 28.8 minutes per game.
In the year In November 2020, the center signed a four-year, $10.15 million rookie-scale contract with the Jazz. Last October, the team exercised its 2,174,880 team option for the 2022-23 season.
Jazz executive Danny Ainge has until Oct. 31 to pick up his $3,923,484 club option for the 2023-24 season. Otherwise, the center will become a restricted free agent in the future.