The picture above is the last we saw of Mehmet Okur(notes), quite literally eight months ago, being helped off the court after tearing his right Achilles tendon.
And, because he's done nothing but work his tail off, it was announced during Jazz shootaround Friday that Memo will actually suit up for the Jazz Friday night, and play limited minutes. And I need you to understand what this says about Mehmet Okur.
Achilles injuries can ruin careers. They can rob players, both big and small, of explosiveness, and take athletes (no matter the sport) out of the running for up to a full year.
For a 6-10 guy of Okur's weight? To come back in eight months time is, as Jazz play-by-play man David Locke put it Friday, "really an amazing statement to the effort and dedication Memo Okur has put into rehab."
The Jazz are currently 18-8 and are tied for the Northwest Division lead with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Nobody is or should be expecting Okur to return to the All-Star level he showed a few years ago, but amongst a frontcourt that features Paul Millsap(notes), Al Jefferson(notes) (who always seems like a few games away from fully getting it), and Andrei Kirilenko(notes)? Jazz coach Jerry Sloan (who announced Memo's return) will be rife with options, as will be all-world point man Deron Williams(notes).
- Mehmet Okur