The Utaz Jazz will be without center Rudy Gobert for four-to-six weeks after a MRI revealed a right tibia contusion, the team announced Sunday.
Gobert was undercut by Miami Heat guard Dion Waiters on Friday, a play he classified as "dirty" following the contest.
"He just dove right into my knee," Gobert told Eric Woodyard of the Deseret News. "Kind of like the same thing that happened before on my MCL so my knee just went inside and kind of popped inside and back out."
Waiters, who wasn't called for a foul on the play, responded by saying, "I've never been a dirty player in my life." The Jazz reportedly asked the league to review the play, but NBA officials cleared Waiters of any intentional foul accusations.
Losing Gobert, Utah's best defensive player, will be crippling for the Jazz. Last year's second team All-NBA center is averaging 13.9 points, 10.5 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game through 12 contests this year. The 7-foot-1 big man from France is an elite shot-blocker, leading the NBA in that category last season.
Utah entered play Sunday with a 6-7 record in the competitive Western Conference and will surely struggle to remain around the .500 mark in Gobert's absence.
“Obviously, it will be a difference,” Gobert's teammate, Derrick Favors, exclaimed after witnessing the injury. “I just have to make sure I’m where I’m supposed to be offensively and defensively. I have to get back to doing what I do, and hold it down until he comes back. Guys are just going to have to step up for him. We have to be prepared.”
Favors, who usually starts at power forward, played center Saturday and scored 24 points, ripped down 12 rebounds and blocked two shots.