The 2016-17 Jazz, a team fueled by home-grown talent, put together the organization’s best season since the 2009-10 season. Utah finished with 51 wins and advanced to the second round of the playoffs before being swept by the Golden state juggernaut. The feat is even more impressive considering the team’s struggle to remain healthy. Four key contributors missed over 23 games each as Derrick Favors, Alec Burks, Rodney Hood, and George Hill were routinely in-and-out of the lineup.
Brian Zettler resigned in the offseason after two seasons as head athletic trainer. The front office hired a proven commodity to replace Zettler, naming Eric Waters the head athletic trainer. Waters previously held the same title with the Washington Wizards. During his tenure with the Wizards, Waters guided the team to two top-10 finishes in fewest games lost to injury and was named Athletic Trainer of the Year by the National Basketball Athletic Trainers Association (NBATA) for the 2009-10 season.
Waters will work with Mike Elliot, another new hire, who will serve as the vice president of performance health care. Elliot spent the previous 14 seasons working with the heralded Phoenix Suns medical team as a member of the athletic training staff and as director of the team performance for the past two years.
The new look Jazz staff will look to keep the players healthy in order to continue their rediscovered winning ways. Sadly, a severe injury has already occurred after guard Dante Exum suffered a potentially season-ending shoulder injury. Exum, along with the Jazz medical team, is currently seeking non-surgical options for his recovery.