JAZZ: Utah point guard Deron Williams was sidelined again for Friday’s game against Charlotte, as coach Jerry Sloan acknowledged they brought him back too soon from a left ankle injury. With sixth man Andrei Kirilenko also sitting out with a sprained right index finger and center Mehmet Okur missing his third straight game to be with his ill father in Turkey, the Jazz were missing three of their top six players against the Bobcats. Williams played in the past two games after missing the first six with the injury, but his mobility was limited in Wednesday’s loss in Washington.
KNICKS: Rookie Danilo Gallinari received another cortisone shot for his ailing back and will have an “extended period of rest” while seeking additional opinions on treatment. Gallinari met with two specialists Thursday and received the shot. He will get more opinions in the next few weeks on his “long-term management options,” the Knicks said.
SUNS: Guard Leandro Barbosa returned to Brazil after his mother died. He flew to his hometown of Sao Paulo late Thursday after learning of the death of his mother, Ivete Barbosa. Team officials are not sure when Barbosa will return.
NBA: The NBA has suspended Steve Nash and Matt Barnes of Phoenix and Rafer Alston of Houston for their roles in a fight. Alston and Barnes were suspended for two games without pay and Nash for one. The league also fined Shaquille O’Neal $35,000 and Tracy McGrady $25,000 for their actions during the Rockets’ 94-82 win in Phoenix on Wednesday. Barnes knocked back Alston with his shoulder late in the third quarter, and Alston charged him. Nash ran in and was pushed back by McGrady, who was shoved down by O’Neal.