Andrei Kirilenko remains hopeful

SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko, sidelined with a strained calf, expressed more cautious optimism that he could return for a potential Game 6 against the Denver Nuggets next Friday.

"It's a good goal," Kirilenko said. "Don’t force it, but a good goal.”

Kirilenko anticipates aqua-therapy and light running in the coming days before taking to the floor to test the calf on Sunday or Monday. On Friday at the Jazz's shootaround, Kirlienko took some shooting. He has undergone platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatment for the calf. The goal of PRP treatment for Kirilenko is to repair his calf by injecting the area with portions of his own blood. Kirilenko has been very encouraged by the process.

"I feel relieved," Kirilenko said after shootaround on Friday morning. "My calf feels soft. My step is getting better. I was a little bit afraid to step hard, but the pain was gone.”

The biggest surprise for Kirilenko was the relative painlessness of the treatement.

“I didn’t feel anything actually," Kirilenko said. "The doctor said he was going to put an anesthetic, but he didn’t tell me when. He said, ‘There’s going to be a little pinch right now, so you’ll feel the needle go in.’ And then he was like, ‘I’ve started draining blood,’ and I’m like, ‘Really?’ I was waiting for the pain, and then he says, ‘I’m done.’ ‘Really? Where’s the pain?’ So it wasn’t that painful.”