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Deseret News - Utah Jazz: Walker Kessler to miss at least one more week with elbow injury


Sarah Todd

Utah Jazz center Walker Kessler (24) isn’t able to reach the ball as Breakers’ Mangok Mathiang turns as the Utah Jazz and the New Zealand Breakers play at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City on Monday, Oct. 16, 2023.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Some good news, and some bad news.

The good is that Utah Jazz center Walker Kessler has been cleared to resume basketball contact activities, the bad news is that he’ll be out for at least one more week with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament (UCL).

When Kessler first injured his elbow (the UCL is the interior ligament of the elbow) during the Utah Jazz’s first game of the 2023-24 season he thought he would be able to play through the pain without any time off.

Kessler struggled through the first few games of the year — his timing and movements were just a little off compared to where he finished his rookie season. Although he’s hesitant to say that the injury was impacting his play, it’s impossible to ignore that he was in pain.

After an MRI revealed a sprain, the decision was made to shut him down so he could heal.

“I don’t believe in excuses at any point,” Kessler said on Monday. “Obviously didn’t have a great start but definitely feeling a lot better about my situation now.”

Kessler missed the last two weeks (five games) and will be sidelined for at least one more week as he continues to work back. The difference now is that Kessler will be able to train with teammates rather than being restricted to non-contact activities and rest as he was the last two weeks.

The Jazz medical staff will reevaluate Kessler in one week, which means he is set to miss at least the next three games.

Watching from the sidelines hasn’t been easy for Kessler, but he’s been impressed by the improvement of the team and said he can’t wait to rejoin them on the court.

“Offensively I think we’re fantastic and defensively we’re only getting better every day,” Kessler said. “I’m excited to provide that level of interior defense when I get back.”

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