Utah Jazz Clear Lauri Markkanen for Wednesday's Matchup With Portland Trail Blazers

Lauri Markkanen's injury absence will be a short one. The Utah Jazz updated their injury report to indicate that their leading scorer will be available for tonight's matchup with the Portland Trail Blazers after missing Monday's game against the Sacramento Kings with back soreness.

Markkanen has been easily the Jazz's most valuable player this season, averaging 25.4 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game with an excellent .645 true shooting percentage over his 63 appearances. Acquired as part of the Jazz's dramatic offseason trade of Donovan Mitchell, Markkanen's play has already validated parting ways with the three-time All-Star; the multiple first-round picks the Jazz still have coming their way are all gravy.

Shockingly, the Jazz are 35-36. At 10th in the Western Conference, they currently have a spot in the play-in tournament and still have a chance at the playoffs. Short of perhaps the Oklahoma City Thunder, no team has a more intriguing future; trading away franchise icons Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert this past offseason earned the Jazz an eye-popping stockpile of future draft picks. If they can somehow tempt a star via trade or hit the jackpot in the draft, they could be contending again before long. 

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