Mehmet Okur Tears Achilles' Tendon, Done for the Playoffs
Okur needs surgery and will likely miss the world championships this summer in his native Turkey. He flew home to Salt Lake City on Sunday after an MRI revealed the tear.
Okur was injured while driving to the basket in the first half of Utah's Game 1 loss at Denver on Saturday night. Before the game, he had taken a painkilling shot to treat his Achilles tendinitis, which he had been dealing with since April 7.
O'Connor said he doesn't believe the injection had anything to do with Okur tearing the tendon. Okur's right leg slipped as he was driving, shifting all his weight to his left leg, which twisted awkwardly as he fell to the floor.
Okur's injury is merely the latest for the short-handed Jazz, who also lost forward Andrei Kirilenko for the duration of the first round to a strained calf last week.
After losing Okur and Kirilenko, the Jazz are precariously thin in the frontcourt. Paul Millsap will likely join the starting lineup, with Carlos Boozer, who recently missed time with a strained abdominal muscle, playing out of position at center. Jazz coach Jerry Sloan also may be forced to enlist the services of little-used big men Kyrylo Fesenko, who averaged 2.9 points in 49 games, and Kosta Koufos, who averaged 1.5 in 36 games.
Either way, the Jazz will be forced to change their offense.
"It is tough without [Okur]," Boozer said after Saturday's game. "He is a big presence for us, hits threes, spreads the defense out for us and he does a good job helping us rebound.''
Okur's absence will be felt on the defensive end, as well, with Millsap now forced to focus on stopping Denver's post players instead of taking his turn attempting to slow down Carmelo Anthony, who lit up smaller defenders Wesley Matthews and C.J. Matthews to the tune of 42 points, a playoff career-high.
In any case, the Nuggets aren't taking pity on their opponent.
"They are undermanned a little bit, but this is the NBA,'' Denver acting coach Adrian Dantley said after Saturday's game. "Okur is hurt. Kirilenko is hurt, so you have to go out and win the first game. ... But the series is not over. ... (Sloan) is not going to let them just quit.''
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.