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Jazz center Walker Kessler to miss at least 2 weeks with elbow sprain

Utah Jazz center Walker Kessler drives on Sacramento Kings forward Keegan Murray in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2023.

INDIANAPOLIS — The Utah Jazz are going to be without their starting center for a little while.

Walker Kessler will be out for at least two weeks with a left elbow sprain, the team announced Wednesday.

Kessler first injured his elbow in the opening game of the season against the Sacramento Kings on Oct. 25. After discomfort continued during the last couple of weeks, Kessler had an MRI, which showed a sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament. Kessler will be evaluated in two weeks, during which time he’ll be restricted to noncontact activities and rest.

It’s expected that John Collins will slide over to slot in as a small-ball five in the starting lineup, which will in turn move Lauri Markkanen to the four spot. Ochai Agbaji is expected to move into the starting unit in Kessler’s absence.

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Through the first few games of the season, Kessler has struggled a bit. He said that his defensive timing is a tad off and he’s had more than a few unlucky bounces around the rim. While Kessler has not attributed any of his struggles this season to the injury, it could explain why some of his movements have been a little off.

Kessler’s injury is not expected to keep him out long term, but he will miss a few games as he allows the sprain to heal.

The Jazz are 2-6 on the year and head into Wednesday night’s game against the Indiana Pacers having lost three straight.

The final game of the current four-game road trip will be Friday against the Memphis Grizzlies. It will be the Jazz’s first in-season tournament qualifying game.