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Dante Exum is returning and looks to make impact in final stretch

Utah Jazz guard Dante Exum (11) celebrates a basket and a foul in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Dec. 29, 2018. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah Jazz guard Dante Exum was playing some of the best basketball of his career right before he sprained his left ankle in a game against Detroit Jan 5th.

Now he is set to make a comeback once again for his team returning to help the Jazz take on the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Exum will be on a minutes restriction of just 16-20 minutes. The Australian guard is currently playing in his fourth season and has had quite the injury list. That’s why Exum battled up and down feelings after spraining an ankle.

“I tried my best to get back in two weeks, then it was three weeks, then it was four weeks,” Exum said ahead of the Jazz-Thunder tipoff. “I was trying to get back every week to play but they just didn’t allow it and that’s just how the injury went but we did everything to make sure I was doing it right and getting back as healthy as possible.”

Even with all the other injuries this one was different for the Exum. He had expected to come back a lot sooner. However, while rehabbing the ankle injury it was discovered that the Jazz guard was also dealing with a bone bruise on his ankle as well. So it made things a little bit tricky on a return.

“I do get frustrated. I get frustrated all the time,” Exum said. “Just some days I come in and I’m just like beating my head against the wall, but I think that’s the natural way of things. I just want to be out there.”

His teammates are excited for his return and the dynamic he will bring off the bench.

“He comes in and plays with a lot of energy, obviously he’s a good playmaker for us and he can definitely help us win games at a high level just because of what he brings to the team and his playmaking ability and his length and how he can defend,” said Jazz forward Jae Crowder. “We need him right now and it’ll be a good spark for us to get him back.”

Exum firmly believes his best basketball is still ahead of him and is hopeful to make a good impact immediately as the team continues its playoff push.

“I was tapping into it a bit (before the injury),” Exum said. “I did get injured but I’m just trying to go out there every night and compete and hopefully we can get wins every night and that’s the main thing and as a point guard make everyone around me better.”

The Utah Jazz have four games this week. Monday they will host the Thunder at 7 P.M. Then they will play at the Suns Wednesday, the T-Wolves Thursday, and the Nets Saturday.