After four straight seasons of finishing below the league average in games lost to injury, including two top-10 finishes, the Jazz took a small step backward in 2015-16. While sustained health is a must for a team on the cusp of postseason contention, the blame cannot be set solely on the Jazz medical team.
Brian Zettler started his first season as head athletic trainer a man down after point guard Dante Exum suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his left knee while playing for the Australian National Team. Remove the 82 games Exum would go on to miss from Utah’s totals and the team is again in the top-10 for fewest games missed.
Sadly Zettler is already busy in year two with Alec Burks and Gordon Hayward sidelined by injury. Burks has yet to be cleared following two offseason surgeries and Hayward suffered a gruesome dislocation and fracture of his left ring finger. However if Zettler and the rest of his crew can prevent or minimize any other injuries from occurring while Burks and Hayward recover, the Jazz could make the long awaited return to the postseason.