Jazz center Rudy Gobert could return for Monday’s Washington Wizards game

Scott G Winterton,

Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (27) defends Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) as the Utah Jazz and the Portland Trailblazers play at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2017.

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Jazz fans may be receiving an early Christmas present soon.

After participating in a light practice Sunday, Jazz center Rudy Gobert could make his return to the lineup as early as Monday night against the Washington Wizards.

He’s listed as questionable.

“Well, I defer to our medical group on that,” said Jazz coach Quin Snyder. “We’re going to confer and trust those guys to not do anything to put Rudy in harm’s way and when he’s ready to go he’ll be ready to go.”

Gobert has been sidelined for the past 11 games with a bone bruise in his right knee.

He was originally expected to miss at least four weeks but the big man is a little more than three weeks removed from the right tibia contusion after clashing with Miami’s Dion Waiters on Nov. 10.

Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell said he was surprised by Gobert’s conditioning in his first day back. He’s still adjusting to the new plays that Snyder has inserted during his absence but had no issues with getting back in the flow of things.

“It was good to have that rim protection,” Mitchell said. “(Derrick Favors) and Ekpe (Udoh) have been doing a great job as far as rim protection and even Jonas (Jerebko), but when you have the big fella back there it’s a little different, but it’s great to have him back. We’re excited.”

Favors has filled in greatly at the center position without Gobert, recording 20 or more points on four occasions, but will likely slip back to the power forward spot.

Utah has won five straight games and has gone 7-4 without Gobert in the lineup.

Managing Gobert’s role for his return is something Snyder and the coaching staff are open to doing.

Jazz guard Rodney Hood is still questionable Monday after missing the last three games with left ankle soreness. Raul Neto is probable against…

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